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While I personally have seen a number of unbelievable disputes take place as a result of Christmas festivities you wont believe it until you read it for yourself. Click Here Have a great holiday season.

Minimum Wage23.7.08
The Fair Pay Commission has handed down its July 2008 decision increasing wage rates for employees covered under the Federal IR system. Learn exactly how this affects you. Click Here Effective Workplace

Many employers are uncertain about what has changed in workplace relations with the election of the new Federal Labor government. Click Here to download our December newsletter about workplace relations under labour.

Improving Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management

How do I improve my current IR/HR management? Planning for the long term.


Development and implementation of strategies for workplace relations improvement

Are your Human Resource management systems and Industrial Relations record generally okay, but you want to improve your IR and HR procedures to support your longer term business aims? Do you have ongoing problems with industrial relations, employee grievances or high staff turnover, with the associated costs and inefficiencies all of these bring?

We can help you review your current systems, their level of performance and your longer term business aims and devise new or improved systems that will allow you to achieve these aims. It might be as simple as setting a regular meting to improve communications and staff satisfaction. It might be a major review of your enterprise agreements and OHS policies and procedures.

Whatever it is, we can help you devise the best way to build effective workplace relations with your employees, with systems that will fit into your overall business operations.


Development, negotiation and processing of employment contracts and industrial instruments.

(awards, State and Federal collective agreements, Australian Workplace Agreements) covering employees at all levels;

[ Do you have documentation in place for every employee, including supervisory and management staff not covered by awards, which sets out their duties and the terms and conditions of their employment? Would you like to change the current conditions of employment so that your business can operate more flexibly and efficiently by creating arrangements that suit the way you operate (or would like to) and/or by freeing you from restrictions under the current awards?

If your current practices (e.g. overtime payments) do not comply with the award, exposing you to the risk of claims by employees or unions and prosecution for breach of award, would you like to have these practices formalised and made legal via an approved enterprise agreement? Would you like to have the flexibility to customise employment for each employee (or group of employees) via an Australian Workplace Agreement developed to meet the needs of your business and recognise the needs and contributions of individual employees?

Do you need an employment contract for a key employee or manager? Do you have confidential information (e.g. customer lists; manufacturing processes; trade secrets) that you need to protect? Do you want to protect your business from unfair competition from former employees?

We can help you develop agreements and contract documents that will achieve these objectives. We can help you with all stages of the development and implementation of contracts, awards and agreements, including

identifying issues and developing management's agenda for change and negotiation;
drafting of negotiating documents and agreements;
assistance in negotiations with employees and/or unions;
assistance and representation in the certification/ratification process for the finished award or agreement;
assistance with the implementation of your award or agreement; and
assistance with resolution of any disputes that arise about the interpretation or application of the award or agreement.


Advice on legislation and industrial instruments relevant to employment and workplace industrial matters;

We can advise you on all of the following-

What award applies, if any?
Is it a Federal or State award?
Does an Act or other legislation apply (e.g. Annual Holidays Act (NSW), Long Service Leave Act (NSW), Superannuation Guarantee Administration Act (Cth) )?
Is there an enterprise agreement or other registered industrial agreement which applies here?
How do I find out what they say?
Can I get a copy of the awards?
What does it mean?
My employee or a union is telling me that I have to pay a different rate or an allowance and I need to know whether that is correct.
How do I find out what the right pay rates are?
What conditions apply to my employees (e.g. hours of work; overtime; leave for family reasons or parental leave)?
My employees are telling me they are entitled to an additional payment under the award and I don't think it means that at all- who's right?
…and many other questions…
A lot of questions that worry many employers. We can set your mind at rest. ]


Development of staff policy and procedure manuals;

We can prepare a policy and procedure manual for your business and assist you in maintaining it. Such manuals provide a valuable resource for induction and training of new employees and ensure consistency of approach across your business. They also provide a very effective means to allow supervisors and managers to set and maintain acceptable standards of performance by staff.

It is a central principle of employment and industrial law that employees must be made aware of policies, standards and procedures if they are to be held accountable for following them. This ranges from simple matters like time-keeping and attendance through acceptable workplace behaviour to OHS policies and anti-discrimination policies. Employees must also be given the appropriate training so that they are able to adhere to the policies. A manual provides the framework for such training.

While such manuals can require substantial commitment to produce, they are a powerful tool to assist in the achievement of effective workplace relations.


Achieving effective communication between employer/employees and employer/unions;

HR/IR problems often have their roots in poor communication or lack of communication. This is especially so where management is contemplating significant change (e.g. an organisational restructure; the introduction of new plant or work methods). Change makes most people uncomfortable and insecure, especially where they have no input into or control over what is going to happen. Change in such an important area of people's lives as their workplace is especially difficult.

Good communication can allay fears and smooth the introduction of change. It can mean the difference between change being made successfully and not working properly due to industrial disruption or employee resistance. Employers and managers are themselves often afraid of communicating because they are fear losing control of the process. But experience shows that planned, effective communication and genuinely seeking employee input positively assists change and can lead to even greater improvement and the avoidance of mistakes.

We can help you to devise properly controlled, effective and efficient communication processes to support change processes or to improve the quality of day-to-day employer-employee interaction.


Avoiding industrial disputes;

We can help you devise and implement strategies designed to avoid the occurrence of industrial disputes. This can range from a system to ensure regular communications on matters of concern, through planning the IR aspects of a major project (such as site instructions and amenities), design of and training for both managers and employees in the use of appropriate dispute and grievance settlement procedures, to employee satisfaction surveys and the like.

As always, it is always preferable to spend resources on dispute avoidance rather than resolving an underlying problem after incurring the disruption and cost of a dispute and attendant industrial action.


Dealing with industrial disputes (including representation in meetings and before industrial tribunals);

If you have an actual or threatened industrial dispute, with or without industrial action (e.g. strikes or work bans), we can help by advice on the legal and practical aspects of dealing with the dispute. This covers both the immediate response (such as reorganisation of work, any necessary action with respect to staff who are not taking action but whose work is affected by industrial action, action to have industrial action cease, notification of the dispute to the relevant Industrial Commission if necessary) and negotiations with employees and unions to resolve the dispute.

In addition to advising you, we can lead negotiations on your behalf with employees and unions and can also appear as your representative in either Federal or State industrial tribunals.


Restructuring and termination of employment (unfair dismissal claims);

The whole area of termination of employment is one which can be fraught with difficulty and is the subject of a great deal of fear and loathing on the part of employers. However, while there is no complete answer, terminations can be dealt with effectively and with minimal risk and cost to the employer. Success requires planning and careful groundwork.

If you are faced with a major restructuring exercise, we can help you work through restructuring and redundancy situations. This includes: reviewing options such as retraining and redeployment (where possible), making decisions on timing, planning for the necessary consultation with employees and unions, developing and implementing the selection process for those to be made redundant, calculating termination entitlements, and preparing the required documentation.

Where the proposed termination is the result of disciplinary or performance related issues, we can advise and assist with the process leading up to termination, counselling, alternatives to termination, calculation of entitlements and preparation of the necessary documentation (such as warning letters, notice of termination etc).

If you are the subject of an unfair dismissal claim we can advise on handling it. We can represent you in negotiations and industrial commission proceedings.

Better yet, we can provide you with training in the procedures you need to apply to ensure that a decision to terminate will be found to be just, fair and reasonable if challenged. This reduces costs and will also reduce the likelihood of speculative claims.