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The Punnet – April 2022

By April 12, 2022Newsletter
The Punnet

What is happening in the world of HR for small businesses?

Team News

Strawberry Seed are now bicoastal!

Our Senior HR Advisor, Helen Byrne (and her family) has moved to Margaret River, WA. The bad news is we will miss having her smiling face in the Torquay office. The excellent news for our clients in the west is that we now have someone on the ground in WA!

Helen will continue to be an integral part of the team and support our clients across Australia. She will also focus on growing our business in the west. And the rest of the team now has an excuse to visit and head out for a wine or two…

Upcoming Public Holidays

It is that time of the year that we get a lot of questions about public holidays. Here is a quick reminder.

  • Employees (except casual employees) who usually work on the day a public holiday falls will be paid their base pay rate for the ordinary hours they would have worked if they had not been away because of the public holiday
  • An employee’s roster can’t be changed to avoid this payment deliberately
  • If a public holiday falls during a period of paid leave (for example, annual leave or sick leave), the employee has to be paid for the public holiday – it does not come out of their leave entitlement
  • If an employee works on a public holiday, they may be entitled to receive penalty rates under your Award or EBA

Not sure what days are public holidays in your state this Easter? Click here for a full list. If you need help, please reach out to the Strawberry Seed team on (03) 4216 5200.

Can an employee secretly record our meetings?

We live in a world where almost everyone carries a device in their pocket that allows them to record conversations without the other person knowing. So, where do you stand as an employer?

Secret recordings of workplace conversations can amount to misconduct. In a recent decision (Roman v Mercy Hospitals [2022] FWC 711), an unvaccinated employee recorded a workplace conversation that occurred at a meeting without her employer’s knowledge. The recording first came to the employer’s attention when the employee extracted aspects of it in a transcript set out in her unfair dismissal application.

The Fair Work Commission held that secretly recording the workplace meeting was a valid reason for dismissal even though it came to the employer’s attention after the dismissal.

The Commissioner stated that:

“unless there is a justification, the secret recording of conversations in the workplace is highly inappropriate, irrespective of whether it constitutes an offence in the relevant jurisdiction”.

The FWC held that secret recordings are unfair because the person recorded had no opportunity to choose their words carefully or put their best foot forward, meaning such practices were apt to produce a sense of foreboding in others. It was held to be corrosive to healthy and productive work environments. In this case, the secret recording (along with a failure to produce evidence of vaccination status) were valid reasons for dismissal.

New Partnership with Breathe HR Software

HR software streamlines all necessary HR functions for human capital management (HCM). Also known as Human Resources Management Systems (HRMS) or Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS), HR software provides a powerful solution for everyday HR processes and strategic planning.

We are excited to announce that Strawberry Seed Consulting is now partnering with Breathe. Not only are we using it for our business, but we see this as a fantastic additional service for our clients.

Breathe has developed comprehensive HR software for small and medium-sized businesses. Their award-winning tools put you in control of all HR functions while re-centring your people at the heart of your business. It’s the perfect solution for keeping on top of your day-to-day HR tasks, centralising data, and maximising employee engagement.

If you would like to learn more about Breathe or book an obligation free demonstration, please click here.

Training and Development

Strawberry Seed Consulting – April Webinar 

We are excited to have launched our new series of free monthly webinars!

The next session is on the 27th April 2022 at 7.30 pm. Bookings can be made here and please feel free to pass this on to other business owners.

Contractors v Employees Do you understand the difference?

One area where we often see confusion from small businesses is the difference between an employee and a contractor. They are two different forms of engagement and can cause headaches for business owners that get them wrong.

We are pleased to have Tania White, Managing Director and Principal Lawyer from Cross the T join us to provide a legal overview and advice on getting subcontracting right. Then, our Director, Carli Saw, will provide a more detailed insight on employment and some of the common mistakes we see employers make.

As we understand small business people have busy days, we have scheduled this session for the evening!

Mental Health First Aid Training

Undetected mental health issues have a long-term negative impact on your staff as well as the wider workplace. Recognising the signs and symptoms of mental health issues is the first step to supporting an employee or workmate who’s struggling.

Our HR Advisor, Frances Orr, became an accredited MHFA trainer at the end of 2020. She has been delivering in house MHFA training for a number of our clients over the past 12 months.

We are excited to announce that we are about to start offering public courses for smaller business owners that want to only send one or two employees to a course. We will be offering discounted rates for our HR Business Support Package and previous Fixed Price Package clients.

If you are interested, please complete this Expression Of Interest survey.

Why is Mental Health First Aid training important?

As a manager or business owner, you’re likely to have been confronted with mental health issues at your workplace. Do you know how to talk to a team member who’s struggling? Maybe you hold back because you don’t know what to say, or you’re worried about saying the wrong thing?

Mental Health First Aid training teaches you practical first aid skills to help a team member or co-worker who’s experiencing mental health issues. We’ll teach you how to approach someone who’s struggling, ask the right questions and help them access professional help.

To learn more about our in-house training options, click here or contact Frances for an obligation free customised quote at


Carli Saw

Author Carli Saw

Carli is a Human Resources professional with more than 20 years of experience across a range of industries and a passion for supporting small business.

More posts by Carli Saw