HR Heartbeat: Dodgy job ads, menopause policies, and...

NAIDOC Week kicked off on Sunday, debates about menopause policies continue, employers have been fined over $89,000 for advertising illegal wage rates, and so much more in this edition.

First published on Tuesday, Jul 09, 2024

Last updated on Friday, Jul 05, 2024

7 min read

Have you heard the latest news?

Everything you need to know about the latest trends impacting employers all over Australia. Keep up to date with the HR Heartbeat.

Let’s get into the headlines.

NAIDOC Week

NAIDOC stands for National Aboriginals’ and Islanders’ Day Observance Committee. And the start of NAIDOC Week falls on the first Sunday of July every year, this year that’s from 7 July to 14 July.

It’s an opportunity and a reminder to celebrate and acknowledge the culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The theme for 2024 is Keep the Fire Burning! Blak, Loud & Proud. It’s a theme that honours the strength and vitality of First Nations culture and how it endures through generations. It’s also a nod to the unapologetic nature with which Indigenous identity should be celebrated and unwavering in its place in the modern world—especially in the workplace.

Australian employers honour NAIDOC Week in different ways, but the most important step is to make sure your workplace welcomes and celebrates diversity and ensures equity throughout the year.

Learn more about the history and significance of NAIDOC, here.

Happy New (Financial) Year!

A new financial year 2025 has just begun, which means big changes for businesses of all sizes.

  • Tax time is coming up. And if this inspires an internal groan, making sure your record-keeping processes are simplifying tax time for you might be the key to making taxes less daunting. BrightHR’s easy-to-use PoP app digitalises staff expense tracking and mileage calculations, which means that come tax time all the information you need to maximise your tax savings is securely stored for you.

  • Your HR documentation, including crucial contracts, may need to be updated to stay in line with all the employment relations changes that were introduced in the last financial year.
    This includes the recently announced national minimum wage increase. If you’re looking for more information about updating your HR documents for FY25 our experienced advisers are taking you through everything you need to know in our next live webcast. You can save your seat at our next session, here.

There’s plenty more where that came from. Check out our blog post How Small Businesses Should Prepare for the Beginning of the Financial Year (BOFY) for all our tips on setting yourself up for success this year.

Menopause takes a pause

Debates are raging over whether Australian workplaces should introduce menopause policies and leave.

Research has found that workplaces are losing women right around the time they reach the peak of their careers due to a lack of support surrounding menopause and the challenges it can bring.

Professor Rebecca Mitchell who has studied the costs Australian businesses shoulder as a result of menopausal women leaving the workplace found that Australian women tend to retire earlier than the usual 59 they plan for. When asked why, 45% said it was due to their sickness or disability. However, when women past their menopausal age, and nearing 60, are asked their reason for retirement those who attribute it to sickness or disability drops to 24%.

It’s been estimated that mismanaged menopause is costing businesses approximately $5 billion a year. A mammoth cost that some believe can be slashed if the right policies and procedures are introduced.

On the flip side of the coin, others believe that legislating menopause leave could lead to more gender bias in the workplace. They argue that businesses may hesitate to promote or hire women if they are given greater leave entitlements.

The conversation continues, but in the meantime, it’s important to make sure you’re adhering to your employees' leave entitlements and ensuring that your workplace is free from discrimination in both policy and practice.

Our library of HR document templates including handbooks, policies, and factsheets is available 24/7 to help you create and roll out compliant documentation without spending hours on your HR admin.

$89,000 in fines for dodgy job ads

In March 2023, the Fair Work Ombudsman gained the power to fine employers for posting job ads offering illegal rates of pay. Specifically, illegally low pay rates.

Since then, Fair Work Inspectors have issued 151 Infringement Notices or fines to employers.

Job websites haven’t been immune either, Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth has said that the regulator expects job sites to cooperate and do their part to maximise awareness of the importance of advertising legal wage rates. Job sites were also requested to make it easier for recruiters and employers to stay compliant with measures like allowing advertisers to use specific wage figures instead of preset ranges.

The crackdown has added up to over $89,000 in fines so far.

Australia has a complex employment relations landscape, which often means that you may be out of step with the law without even realising it. That’s where BrightAdvice comes in handy, the 24/7 advice helpline connects you to experienced employment relations advisers whenever you need support.

That wraps up this edition of HR Heartbeat. Stay tuned for more headlines and all the latest updates that will keep you in the know with all the major employment changes coming your way.

If you’ve got questions about the top HR headlines from this week, ask Bright BrAInbox:

What do I do if an employee tells me they are going through menopause?

Talk to the employee to see what help they would find most beneficial to support them through what can be a difficult time. Menopause affects everyone in different ways so designing some support that is individual for the employee is advisable. Support measures to help employees might include: flexible working arrangements; more frequent or longer breaks; cool working conditions or a working space close to fans, air conditioning, windows, or doors; working space away from heaters, and adapted dress codes to make employees feel more comfortable. Setting out your stance on a menopause policy would be helpful, too.

What is the National Minimum Wage increase?

Each year the Fair Work Commission reviews the wages for employees in the national workplace relations system. This review covers employees who are and are not award covered. At the end of the review the Commission issues orders that set new minimum rates of pay. The National Minimum Wage Order comes into operation on 1 July of each year and generally applies to the employee's first full pay period on or after 1 July for the relevant year.

How to do recruitment in Australia?

There is no defined process for recruiting new employees in Australia. However, there are some general steps that you might take to employ someone new. The first step is to review your current business operations and staff structure to identify where you might need an extra hand to take on the work to be done. Then, create a position description that describes the role and the duties required. This should list the required skills and qualifications needed to carry out the role to a satisfactory standard. You might then choose to review your current staff for suitable candidates to recruit internally, or post a job ad to recruit externally. Once you receive applications, you then need to assess them to see if candidates would be a suitable fit for the role, shortlisting the ones who seem most promising. You can then arrange interviews to get a sense of candidates as people and whether they would be a good fit for your business. After you have done reference checks and verified any other information, it’s then time to make an offer to your preferred candidate and issue them your employment contract template if they accept it. If you need more specific help with recruitment in Australia, it’s best to speak with an adviser.

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