April & May Wrap Up – Changes to Employment Law

We’ve launched the ‘Wrap Up’ series this year to help keep you up to date and compliant with the important changes that’ll be rolling out of the course of 2023. April and May have been a bit quiet on the reforms front, so we’ve included some other relevant topics of interest that discuss some current industry hot topics! 

For the Dec 22’ – Feb 23’ summary, click hereFor the March summary, click here

New Shut Down Rules - in effect from May 1 2023

The Change: Many awards will now have updated rules on taking annual leave during a shutdown. A shutdown is when a business temporarily closes, such as during Christmas and New Year. 

Some of the important changes brought on by these new rules include:

  • Employees may be required by their employers to take annual leave during shutdown periods (the requirement to take annual leave must be reasonable though)
  • Employers must provide at least 28 days’ written notice of the temporary shutdown period to all impacted employees (there are circumstances through which the notice period can be reduced)
  • Employees who don’t have enough paid annual leave to cover the whole period can form an agreement with their employer for other options for the days not covered.

To Do: Check whether your employees are affected by this change and ensure your systems & procedures are changed accordingly. You can find a full list of the impacted awards at the Fair Work website here. 

Hot Topics & Conversation Starters:

  • With EOFY approaching NFY budgets are often sharpened and restructures become a regrettable feature of this time of year 🥶 📈. Have a read of our latest blog article which addresses some frequently asked questions and concerns about restructures & redundancies.
  • Bombshell wage increases are incoming – are you ready for the impact? Read more about the upcoming changes here. 
  • HR departments are the backbone of business – they keep your people safe, happy and resilient. But what do you do when HR needs HR? How do you even know if your HR team might need some external support? Read more in our post here!
  • Wage compliance  is critical for Australian businesses. We’re seeing more and more cases in the media of what can happen to employers who fail to ensure their employees are paid lawfully. Find out more about the law on wage theft and how to know if your business is compliant in our article here. 
  • Your policies are probably out of date. With so many reforms to industrial relations (“IR”) laws that have taken place over the past few months, and with more to come on the horizon, employers to be on their A-game when it comes to their policies and how they are implemented within their business, all to stay compliant with the Fair Work Act. Read our reform summaries and which policies you’ll need to update here
  • Many Australian employees are doing hours of unpaid overtime, across a range of sectors, according to this latest ABC report. The statistics are in and they’re giving us a lot of food for thought when it comes to the realities of working unpaid overtime in Australia, including the impacts it can have on productivity, morale, job satisfaction and your personal life. This could be your sign to reassess what work-life balance looks like in your workplace & check whether you’re meeting national employment standards and your obligations as an employer. 

NEXT STEPS

It might’ve been quieter during April & May, but June is set to get very busy and it only continues from here! If you’d like some support and assistance with navigating these new changes or to resolve other workplace issues and queries, give us a call or email to chat to one of our friendly Wizards. We can help you ensure peace of mind when it comes to your obligations and legal compliance, something that’s especially important with so many reforms rolling out.  

You can call us on 03 9087 6949 or email support@workplacewizards.com.au 

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