Staying Informed: Key Updates for Business Owners

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Staying Informed: Key Updates for Business Owners

As a business owner with employees, it is essential to stay up to date with recent amendments to Fair Work legislation. At YOUtax, we want to ensure you are aware of these updates and can take the necessary steps to comply with the changes. We have summarised the key updates below; however, we recommend discussing them with your HR team or advisors to fully understand the implications and implement any required adjustments.

Small Claims Cap Increase

Effective from 1 July 2023, the small claims cap for underpayment of wages has risen from $20,000 to $100,000. This change may lead to an increase in claims by employees. Understanding the nuances of modern awards is crucial, so:

  • Take the time to review the awards that apply to your business
  • Engage with your payroll and HR team to review wages and entitlements comprehensively, ensuring accurate payment practices.

If an employee raises a query, treat it seriously and address it promptly, as employees often have a good understanding of their entitlements.

Changes to Fixed-Term Contracts

From December 2023, new rules will come into effect for fixed-term contracts exceeding two years. These changes provide additional protections for contracted employees, making it more challenging to terminate their employment. Take this opportunity to review your fixed-term contracts and assess their ongoing necessity. Consider the reasons behind their implementation and determine if they are required in all circumstances.

Amendments to Flexible Working

Starting from June 2023, amendments to flexible working arrangements will be in effect. Employees falling into specific categories, such as those over 55, living with a disability, caring for children, experiencing domestic violence, or being pregnant, will have more opportunities to challenge employers’ refusal of their flexible work requests. While reasonable business grounds can still warrant denial, ensure you have a well-defined process in place for handling requests and refusals. Openness to flexible arrangements is crucial for attracting and retaining talent, so consider exploring alternative options and engaging in compromise discussions.

Review Policies on Sexual Harassment and Bullying

Recent changes in legislation, including the Respect at Work Amendment Act, have introduced new definitions, expanded the jurisdiction of the Fair Work Commission, and clarified sexual harassment and dismissal guidelines. As an employer, it is essential to:

  • Have zero tolerance for any form of harassment and bullying.
  • Regularly review and update your policies, provide training to employees, and promptly address any inappropriate behaviour.
  • Take this opportunity to self-reflect on your own behaviour as a leader and ensure you are setting the right example.

Understanding and adapting to these updates is important for ensuring compliance within your business. Reach out to your HR team and advisors to discuss the specific implications and make any necessary adjustments. 

At YOUtax, we are here to support you through these changes and provide guidance tailored to your needs. Stay proactive, keep informed, and foster a respectful and compliant work environment.

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