Following on from last week, navigating the laws can be intimidating, but you can protect yourself by having structure in your business. This will not only provide you with protection when it comes to the relevant laws, but also will help you to create a workplace where people feel safe, valued, and want to come to work (as opposed to just getting up in the morning to make some cash).
Contracts of Employment
These are made at an individual level and might include items that are not covered in the other industrial instruments such as reference to policy and procedure, probationary period etc.
When it comes to safety, particularly in smaller business, you need to be on your A-game. A workplace injury or death could mean fines of up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even jail for the business owner / leader. It is serious stuff. Plus, as a responsible and ethical employer, of course you want your people to be safe – it’s common sense. But also, unpreparedness for safety is going to cost you money – the employee’s time out of the business, medical bills you may need to pay, increased insurance premiums, lost business. You get the picture, right?
The basic principles of safety are to provide a safe workplace for workers and this includes your employees, contractors, work experience students and even volunteers if you have them. So you need to be aware of the risks in your business and manage them.
Anti-Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment
The last legislative requirement relating to your employees is equal opportunity in the workplace. Actually, the buzz word in HR Land is ‘Diversity’, but hey, who knows what that means except for HR people? So, if you’ve never heard the term, or even if your workplace does use it, this is what it means:
Diversity at work is about providing a workplace that is free from:
So, basically, treat people based on their ability to perform their job and not in relation to things which do not relate to their ability to do their job. Things like age, gender, marital status, pregnancy, race, sexual orientation, religion, where they live are such items. Basically, you need to provide everyone with equal employment opportunity.
It can also give you competitive advantage – the broader the diversity of your workplace, the wider your knowledge base, and therefore, the better your ability is to service a broader client base, too. Diversity works –embrace it!
We know the legal stuff is daunting, but as long as you are prepared you should not face problems. But if you do want to check if you have the right details in place to protect yourself from workplace issues such as diversity, safety, and minimum entitlements, get in touch with us. We can help you out with a free HR health check to put your mind at ease.
For more information, contact HR Gurus on 1300 959 560. We also have simple, straightforward HR skills training to help – including Introduction to Industrial Relations and Equal Employment Opportunity.
Written by Head Guru Emily Jaksch