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  • HR Heartbeat: What is a casual worker, low unemployment rates, and...

HR Heartbeat: What is a casual worker, low unemployment rates, and...

Get right into our HR Heartbeat this week for a look into how unemployment rates affect SMEs, the changes that may be coming to casual employment, and why time needs to be on your side.

First published on Monday, Aug 07, 2023

Last updated on Friday, Aug 04, 2023

4 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.

The highs and lows of low unemployment rates

It’s far from an understatement to say that the job market has seen some pretty dramatic changes over the past few years.

What hasn’t seen too dramatic of a change is the 3.5% unemployment rate. But that may not be so steady for very long.

With the Australian workforce undersupplied, everyone that can work—is, and often for much longer hours than usual. This naturally leads to wages having to rise (literally) to the occasion and reflect this demand. The Reserve Bank of Australia has taken this cue to raise interest rates—a grand total of 12 times.

As a small business owner, you can probably fill in the blanks. Small businesses all over the country are dealing with the rising costs of running their operations and inflation.

If you’re looking for a more cost-effective way to stay on top of your people management, get unlimited compliance advice, and keep up with the changing landscape book a demo with us to see how we can help.

The dictionary defines casual as...

It doesn’t matter because Tony Burke, Workplace Relations Minister has announced that the Labor government is looking into changing it.

To recap, this definition change will be the third significant change to the nature of casual employment since 2020.

Burke has stated that by changing the definition, the aim is to get rid of a legal loophole that allowed employers to keep some of their workers classified as casuals even as they worked regular, systematic hours on an ongoing basis. Essentially, all the features that are usually more consistent with the working hours of a permanent employee.

The proposed changes could see more regular casual employees getting the right classification and the same rights as permanent employees.

While this is all still up in the air, it’s best for small businesses to keep this in the back of their mind so they know when to prepare.

The two things that are definitive are:

  1. Businesses will not have to back-pay employees for any entitlements gained by moving to permanent employment

  2. Employees must agree to be moved into permanent status

Stay tuned for more on this one.

What’s the fairest termination of them all?

After several, very serious allegations were made against an employee about how he treated the people he was meant to care for in a healthcare setting, this employer took action.

The frankly upsetting allegations included the use of unreasonable force to move a resident and forcing a patient to drink while holding their arm.

The employee denied everything, but several witnesses contradicted this view during the employer’s investigation.

Once the employer confirmed the allegations as true, the employee was terminated on the 16th of June 2022. The employee then applied to the FWC for an unfair dismissal remedy.

This unfair dismissal case was put to rest when the former employee kept contradicting himself during the Fair Work Commission’s cross-examination. Six witnesses, on the other hand, offered an accurate and impartial recollection of the allegations against the former employee.

The Commission ruled that due to the nature of the allegations, the employer was correct and fair to dismiss the employee the way they did.

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.

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