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The Punnet – February 2023

By February 1, 2023Newsletter
The Punnet

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

Secure Jobs, Better Pay: Changes to Australian Workplace Laws

The Australian Government has passed the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022. This legislation introduces new workplace laws and changes a range of existing rules.

Prohibiting Pay Secrecy

These changes prohibit secrecy about employees’ pay, effective 7 December 2022.

The Fair Work Act now gives employees and future employees new workplace rights to share or not share information about their pay and ask other employees about their pay. Employees can’t be forced to give this information to another employee if they don’t want to.

In existing contracts this clause won’t be impacted until the contract is varied, and in new contracts, there should be no pay secrecy clause at all.

There is a 6-month grace period for these to be removed from new contracts, from June 2023 there will be a civil remedy (fine) if a contract has a pay secrecy clause.

What should I do next?

Don’t waste the grace period and leave it until the last minute!

Start by reviewing your current employment agreements and removing any clause that requires pay secrecy from your employees.

Then consider if you will be providing your employees with revised agreements in the near future. We recommend that a good time to issue updated agreements is when you offer pay increases.

Need help? Reach out to the Strawberry Seed team.

Family & Domestic Violence Leave

Entitlements under the National Employment Standards have changed. Family & Domestic Violence Leave has been amended to 10 days paid leave per year.

The leave will be available from:

  • 1 February 2023, for employees of non-small business employers (employers with 15 or more employees on 1 February 2023)
  • 1 August 2023, for employees of small business employers (employers with less than 15 employees on 1 February 2023).

What should I do next?

Start with reviewing your leave policies to reflect the changes. You may consider providing an updated policy to your employees. Alternatively, add it to the agenda of your next team meeting to let them know that it is now an entitlement.

There will also be updates to the Fair Work Information Statements you are required to provide to new employees so make sure you have the current version from Fair Work.

Need help? Reach out to the Strawberry Seed team.

Prohibiting Workplace Sexual Harassment

From 6 March 2023, the Fair Work Act will prohibit sexual harassment in connection with work, which includes in the workplace. The protection won’t apply to sexual harassment of a worker that starts before 6 March 2023. This protection will apply to employees, contractors, work experience students, volunteers, future workers, and anyone conducting a business or undertaking.

A person or company will also be liable for sexual harassment committed by an employee or agent in connection with work unless they can prove that they took all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment. The FWC can now hear disputes and has expanded its powers to deal with disputes about sexual harassment, including arbitrating disputes by consent.

What should I do next?

When is the last time you looked at your policies in this area? Review them to make sure they are up to date with the latest legislation.

You also need to consider whether you are taking ‘all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment’. This means being more proactive in your approach. Talk about it in the workplace. Think about how you are promoting positive behaviour in your workplace.

At Strawberry Seed, we come often invited into workplaces to deliver Workplace Conduct Training. This is a great way to be proactive and set the standards for your workplace. Here is what one of our recent clients had to say:

“Total Maintenance Solutions have had the pleasure of working with Strawberry Seed Consulting for the past several years. During this time, they have consistently provided exceptional service and support to our company in all areas of human resources. Their team is knowledgeable, responsive, and professional, always going above and beyond to ensure that our HR needs are met. They have helped us with recruitment, employee relations, compliance, and many other HR-related matters. We recently went through their Workplace Conduct Training which the team thoroughly enjoyed and obtained excellent explanations on acceptable workplace practices.  I highly recommend Strawberry Seed Consulting to any company in need of a local and professional HR support.”

We can deliver it across the country via video with many clients choosing to record it for new employees. If you would like to explore this training for your team, give us a call for a quote at (03) 4216 5200.

Upcoming changes

There are more changes coming, effective from June 2023. These include changes to how employers need to respond to requests for extending unpaid parental leave and expansion of requirements around Flexible Work Arrangements.

In December 2023, employers can no longer employ an employee on a fixed term contract that is greater than 2 years, or the sum of, and with no more than one extension.

We will send out more information prior to these changes but will cover them in our upcoming February webinar – 2023 IR Changes – What employers need to know (see below for booking information).

Upcoming Training and Development

Free February Webinar 

The next in our series of free webinars will be held on the 22nd February 2023 at 7.30 pm. Bookings can be made here, and please feel free to pass this on to other business owners.

2023 IR Changes – What employers need to know

We will provide an update on the new Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022 and give employers an update on what they need to know and what actions they need to take to ensure they are compliant.

This will include changes to:

  • Pay secrecy in contracts
  • Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave
  • Prohibiting Workplace Sexual Harassment
  • Flexible Work Arrangements
  • Fixed Term Contracts

Please join our Director, Carli Saw and HR Advisor, Kylie Simmons, as they explain how the changes will impact you and your employees.

As we understand small business people have busy days, we have scheduled this session for the evening (so you can enjoy it with a glass of wine if you wish)!

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 Senior HR Advisor and Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Frances Orr, is an accredited MHFA trainer and has been delivering in-house MHFA training for a number of our clients since 2021.

We now have a regular schedule of public blended online workplace MHFA, the next ones coming up in March and May.  The public courses allow businesses to send a smaller number of their team to attend the course. We will also be offering discounted rates for our HR Business Support Package and previous Fixed Price Package clients so reach out to your HR Advisor for the codes

Blended Online Workplace Course

The blended online course is split into two components.  In the first component, your team will undertake a self-paced eLearning component (4-6 hours online directly with MHFA).  This is then followed up by component 2, which is two 2.5 hour instructor-led webinar sessions. Each attendee will receive an MHFA manual, and a certificate of attendance and can gain accreditation for mental health first aid. During this course, we can address current industry issues or concerns you are experiencing in your organisation. This public delivery is limited to 12 participants in each webinar session.

The cost of this course is $250 plus GST for each attendee.

The dates for the upcoming instructor lead webinar sessions can be found here.

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

Upcoming Leadership Training Workshops – Newcastle and Torquay

One of our popular HR services is to develop and deliver customised in-house Leadership Training for our clients. However, we realise that not all small businesses are large enough to have a session independently. After successful public sessions across Australia in 2022, we are starting this year’s workshops in Newcastle and Torquay. We are coming your way in May Brisbane so keep an eye out.

Our Leadership Training Workshop is designed to bring together people managers from the small business community to share their experiences and develop their knowledge and skills to be better leaders. The purpose of this workshop is to ensure leaders get the most out of their people, improve productivity and reduce risk to the organisation.

Next Available Workshops

Newcastle – Thursday 2nd March 2023 

Torquay – Monday 20th March 2023 

For more information and details on how to book, click here.

Expressions of Interest for Training in 2023

We will have several existing and new training programs running in 2023. Please fill in this EOI survey if you are interested in any upcoming courses.

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.

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