Whistle Blower

Starting on 1 January 2020, public companies, large proprietary companies and trustees of registrable superannuation entities will be required to have a whistle-blower policy in place. This is part of a move to ensure greater protections for whistle-blowers under the Corporations Act 2001.

Money laundering, fraud, financial irregularities, criminal damage against property – these are just some of the types of misconduct that can take place in a corporate environment. Whistle-blowers play an important role in uncovering and reporting these activities, but individuals are often unwilling to speak out for personal and financial reasons.

A whistle-blower policy provides a clear framework for all employees in an organisation. It should aim to promote whistle-blowing best practice in the workplace and encourage disclosure, contributing to a more ethical corporate culture. Amongst others, the policy must:

  • Identify people, within the company and externally, who can receive whistle-blower reports
  • Advise whistle-blowers how to make a disclosure
  • Include details on how your company will investigate whistle-blower reports
  • Provide information on legal protections available to whistle-blowers
  • Outline how your company will support and protect whistle-blowers

To find out more, take a look at this useful Regulatory Guide released by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). It provides information on designing a whistle-blower policy that complies with the legal obligations, as well as tips for implementing and maintaining this policy in the workplace.

From 1 July 2019, the new national minimum wage (NMW) will be $740.80 per week or $19.49 per hour – an increase of 3.0%. A significant number of workers stand to benefit from the change. Currently around 2.2 million employees in Australia are paid the NMW or a modern award minimum wage, which is also set to increase by 3.0%.

Over the next few weeks, the Fair Work Commission will be providing more information about how the increase will affect modern awards. They will also be updating their pay tools with the new pay rates. So, keep your eyes on their website or subscribe to receive email updates from them about changes in your industry sector!

There are also some changes to penalty rates for Sunday work from 1 July 2019. These will affect employees paid under the Hospitality and Retail awards. Starting next month, full-time and part-time employees covered by the Hospitality award will receive 150% of their base pay rate, instead of 160%, for Sunday work.

Under the Retail award, employees will be affected by reductions to penalty rates for Sunday work from 1 July, as follows:

  • Full-time and part-time employees who aren’t shiftworkers will be paid 165% of their base pay rate for Sunday work, instead of 180%.
  • Casual employees who aren’t shiftworkers will be paid 175% of their base pay rate instead of 185%. This includes their casual loading.
  • Full-time and part-time shiftworkers will be will be paid 185% of their base pay rate instead of 195%.
  • Casual employees who are shiftworkers will be paid 215% of their base pay rate instead of 220%. This includes their casual loading.

Further changes to penalty rates for casual employees who aren’t shiftworkers will come into effect under the Retail award from 1 October this year. These retail employees will benefit from a 5% increase in penalty rates for Saturday work and Monday to Friday evening work from 6 pm.

Detailed information about the NMW changes can be found on the Fair Work Commission website.

Click here for more information about changes to penalty rates under the Hospitality award.

Click here for more information about changes to penalty rates under the Retail award.

We would love to hear what you think about the new national minimum wage ? 

Casual Conversion – what does it mean for employees and employers?

Starting on Monday 1st October, a casual employee who has worked a similar pattern of hours for at least 12 months can ask for their position to become permanent. The Fair Work Commission’s ruling applies to both part-time and full-time casual employees and provides those in potentially precarious positions with greater financial stability week-on-week. It also provides them with access to benefits such as sick leave and paid annual leave.

‘Casual conversion’ is not automatic. A casual employee must make their request in writing, and an employer may refuse the request on reasonable grounds. The position may not exist in 12 months, for example, or there might be a change in working hours and days which will not suit the current employee. Any refusal on the part of the employer must be provided in writing within 21 days of the employee’s date of request.

For now – and definitely before 1st January 2019 – employers should provide all existing casual employees with a copy of the conversion clause in the relevant Modern Award. They should also ensure that any new casual employee receives a copy within 12 months of their first day at work.

The new ruling does not apply to all Modern Awards. For a list of the Awards affected by the 1st October 2018 changes, click here. Please also note that some Awards, e.g. in manufacturing, already contained a casual conversion clause prior to this date.

At Optimal Recruitment, we provide casual, temp-to-perm and permanent staffing solutions. To discuss your needs in more detail, please give one of our friendly team a call on 02 8416 4181.