What is happening in the world of HR for small businesses?
Upcoming Training and Development
Strawberry Seed Consulting – Free May Webinar
The next in our series of free webinars will be held on the 25th May 2022 at 7.30 pm. Bookings can be made here and please feel free to pass this on to other business owners.
Leave Entitlements – Answering our most FAQ on leave
One area our team get questions about every single week is Leave entitlements. There are so many different types of leave and it can be difficult to navigate what applies when. And, let’s be honest, the COVID-19 pandemic has only complicated it further.
Please join our Director, Carli Saw, as she provides an overview of Australian leave entitlements, when they apply, who they apply to, and tips on how to navigate them with your employees.
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 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 over the past 12 months.
We’re excited to let you know that we will be conducting 2 public blended online workplace MHFA courses in June, with a public face to face course later in the year, based in Melbourne. 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.
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, 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 instructor lead webinar sessions (component 2) will be:
Thursday 2 (session 1) and Friday 3 June (session 2) from 9.00am to 11.30am. We will close the registration for this course by Thursday 26 May, to allow attendees time to complete component 1 of the course
Tuesday 21 June (session 1) and Wednesday 22 June (session 2) from 1.30pm – 4.00pm. We will close the registration for this course by Tuesday 14 June to allow attendees time to complete component 1 of the course
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.
Smoke-free laws (and how they apply to e-cigarettes)
We have seen some recent confusion from clients about how smoke-free laws and policies apply to e-cigarettes (or vaping). We thought it was a great time to provide further clarification in this area
State and territory governments are mainly responsible for smoke-free laws in Australia. Smoke-free laws:
- protect people from second-hand smoke,
- encourage people to quit smoking
- help to de-normalise smoking in the community
In all states and territories, it’s illegal to smoke in enclosed public places, including:
- office buildings
- public transport such as trains, planes and buses
- shopping malls
What are e-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are battery-run cigarette-shaped devices that simulate the experience of smoking tobacco by vaporising what is referred to as an “e-liquid” for users to inhale. Typically, the main ingredients in e-liquid are propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, and flavourings. However, there are e-liquids being sold that do not contain propylene glycol, nicotine, or flavours. Using an e-cigarette is sometimes referred to as ‘vaping’.
The Tobacco Amendment Act 2016 amends the Tobacco Act 1987 to regulate all e-cigarettes in the same way as tobacco products.
Under the Act, e-cigarettes cannot be used in areas where smoking is banned, cannot be displayed at retailer outlets, and cannot be sold to people under 18 years of age, as well as being subject to other restrictions.
Workplace Smoking Policies
As e-cigarettes are covered by the laws in the same way as traditional cigarettes, your existing policy on smoking will cover you in this area. However, we know that not everyone will understand this. We recommend that you take a moment to update your policy to include e-cigarettes to ensure there is no confusion.
If you would like assistance reviewing and updating your policies, please reach out to the Strawberry Seed team.
Changes to SCHADS Award effective 1 July 2022 (and a few others too)
There have been key developments in these awards in 2022, including changes to the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services (SCHADS) Award, the classification structure of the Educational Services (Teachers) Award, and the Horticulture Award.
With so many of our clients working under the SCHADS Award, we have summarised the changes for you below. For information on the changes to the other awards, click here.
Due to the original announcement earlier in the year and some transitional arrangements already in place from 1 February 2022 to 1 October, we recommend that businesses covered by this award start planning for any adjustments to rosters and employment agreements. You may need to change the structure and length of shifts for your casual and part-time employees. Key changes include:
Minimum shift length increases
The new minimum engagement period of 2 hours affects employees undertaking disability services work and a minimum engagement period of 3 hours for Social and community services employees. Employers have until 1 October 2022 to finalise the changes to your employees shifts (if you already had an arrangement prior 1 February 2022). All arrangements that commenced post 1 February 2022 have until 1 July 2022 to make this change. NDIS supports are generally delivered and billed by the hour, not in 2-hour blocks.
Additional allowance for broken shifts
A change to the definition of broken shifts will mean a broken shift is one with either one or two breaks (excluding tea and lunch breaks) within a 12hr period. Employees will be paid an allowance of 1.7% of the standard rate per broken shift (if broken once) and 2.25% if broken twice.
Working outside of hours
A new clause will be inserted applying to “remote response” work that requires employees to be paid for time spent working remotely outside their ordinary hours of duty, e.g., taking phone calls, assisting with emergencies, implementing short-notice roster changes, etc. There will be a scale of minimum payments for employees.
Where an employee is required to be on-call, they will be paid an additional allowance of 2% the standard rate for weekdays or 3.96% for weekends and public holidays.
Review of guaranteed hours
Where a part-time employee has worked more than their guaranteed hours for at least 12 months, the employee has a right to request to increase their guaranteed hours.
As the above outlines only the highlights of the determination and the fact that the changes will be applicable to different businesses in different ways, please contact us if you would like any further clarification on how this may affect you.