Employment Law for Employees
Workplace disputes are difficult and stressful. Robertson Hyetts’ Employment Law solicitors can provide advice and assistance to resolve your workplace issues before they deteriorate and cause long term harm to you and your relationship with your employer.
At Robertson Hyetts we make it easy for you. We provide a range of services and offer advice and guidance.
Know your rights and responsibilities
Identifying your rights and responsibilities in the workplace can be difficult – Robertson Hyetts are here to help.
The longer a workplace issue remains unresolved, the more likely it is to damage the employment relationship and your wellbeing. Robertson Hyetts aim to resolve commercial issues and disputes swiftly and discretely.
There is no legal requirement for you to sign an employment contract but it is recommended. A written contract makes the terms and conditions of your employment clear. The contract should include whether your role is full time, part time or casual, where you will work, if there is a probationary period, pay rates, penalties and loadings, leave entitlements, hours of work and termination notice provisions.
If you don't receive a contract when you start working for a new employer you can ask for one. You should also receive a Fair Work Information Statement when you start.
The terms and conditions of your employment cannot generally be changed without your agreement. If you do agree to make any changes the changes should be recorded in writing and signed by both you and your employer.
If you are in receipt of the JobKeeper payment your employer may be able to make changes to your hours of work, days or work, place of work or role without your agreement if certain conditions are met. For more information visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
If you are paid according to an Award, use the P.A.C.T Calculator on the Fair Work Ombudsman site. Your contract of employment (whether in writing or not) should not include a pay rate that is lower than what you are entitled to under an Award or Enterprise Agreement (or the minimum wage if this applies to you).
If you are owed superannuation, the ATO can help you and if you are owed Long Service Leave, the Wage Inspectorate Victoria can give you advice and may be able to help recover your entitlements.
If your employment was terminated in a manner that was harsh, unjust or unreasonable, you may have an unfair dismissal claim. If you think you were terminated because you were exercising a workplace right or because you feel you have been discriminated against or victimised, you may be able to bring a general protections claim because you were unlawfully dismissed.
If you have resigned and it was a choice you made freely, it is unlikely that you can bring an unfair dismissal claim. Resignation will always complicate a claim so if you feel that you have no choice but to resign because of your employer's conduct contact us before taking that step.
All lawyers before commencing to act for a person must complete what is known as a conflict check. This is to ensure that the law firm has not previously acted for or against any party in the dispute and has not obtained any confidential information whilst acting in what could be a totally unrelated matter which may affect your case.
Employment Law for Employers
Having employees in your business can be challenging and stressful. The laws relating to hiring, firing and managing employees are complex. At Robertson Hyetts Solicitors we make employment law attainable. We provide a range of services and offer legal advice and guidance.
Be a proactive employer
It’s important to recognise and resolve potential issues before they arise. This keeps your business operating smoothly and your employees working effectively. By being a proactive employer and creating appropriate employment contracts and agreements, you mitigate the risk to your business. Robertson Hyetts can help you by reviewing your contracts and workplace agreements.
The longer an issue goes unresolved, the more tense it can become. Our aim is to keep the resolution time to a minimum, allowing your business to continue operating efficiently, saving you both time and money.
Our Employment Law Services
Our Employment Law services include:
- Pre business purchase employment audits
- Employment Agreements
- Terminations, including unfair dismissal and general protections applications
- Redundancies and entitlements
- Performance management and discipline
- Award interpretation and advice
- Workplace Disputes
- Occupational Health and Safety
- Harassment and Bullying Complaints
- Workplace Investigations
- Fair Entitlements Guarantee claims
Great question. Employing staff requires some homework and groundwork to get started. Here’s five top tips to help you.
1. Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website: It has some basic templates and tools for employment arrangements. Business Victoria and www.business.gov.au are also great sources of information.
2. Put employment arrangements in writing: Employment contracts set out if your employee is full time, part time or casual. It also specifies pay rates, leave entitlements and notice provisions. Engage a legal professional to assist with employment contracts, so you can minimise grounds for disputes.
3. Pay the right rates and superannuation. Don’t become the next George from Masterchef! Most jobs are covered by an Award and you can calculate them by using the P.A.C.T calculator on the Fair Work Ombudsman site. Don’t forget, Award rates change on July 1 every year and you need to keep good payroll and leave records (use a payroll app), and also provide payslips. Pay superannuation at least quarterly.
4. Workplace policies. Have key policies so everyone knows the rules they need to play (work) by. Code of conduct, OHS, bullying and harassment, social media and leave policies are a great start. A legal professional can help you to draft workplace policies.
5. OHS and Workcover. Visit the Worksafe site to make sure that you know your obligations as an employer. Noone wants to see a person injured at work and as a business owner, the responsibility rests with you. Also speak to your insurance agent or accountant about Workcover insurance, which is compulsory.
Having great staff is really rewarding, but employing staff can sometimes get a bit tricky. Chatting with an employment lawyer and human resources advisor is a worthwhile investment. At Robertson Hyetts, we love getting to know our local small business owners and providing practical and cost-conscious advice to avoid setbacks and help your business grow.
Whilst you can have a verbal agreement, we recommend you record the main terms and conditions of employment in an employment contract. The contract should include a start date, whether the role is full time, part time or casual, the place of work, any probationary period, pay rates, penalties or loadings, leave entitlements, hours of work and termination notice provisions.
Any change to an employee's employment contract should be confirmed in writing either by a new contract, or a contract variation which is signed by the employee as evidence of their agreement to the new terms.
Minimum rates of pay can be found in an Award or Enterprise Agreement. The Award finder and P.A.C.T calculator on the Fair Work Ombudsman site can help you to work out if an Award applies to your staff. The Award Pay Guide for the Award will tell you the minimum Award rates, penalties, loadings or allowances you need to pay. As Award rates change on 1 July every year you need to keep your Award Pay Guide up to date
There are strict rules about keeping good payroll and leave records and you must provide all staff with payslips. We recommend you use one of the many payroll apps available to ensure compliance with these rules.
Policies which set out the rules you expect your employees to abide by and the processes that need to be followed are a great idea. As a minimum all businesses should have a general Code of conduct and we recommend workplace policies for OHS, bullying and harassment, leave, flexible working arrangements, as well as something that safeguards against the misuse of IT, internet, email and social media.
Visit the Worksafe site to make sure that you know your obligations as an employer. No one wants to see a person injured at work and as a business owner, the responsibility rests with you. Workcover insurance is compulsory so speak to your insurance agent or accountant about this.
Robertson Hyetts is a co-convener of the Bendigo Regional HR Network.
To learn more about upcoming events and topics visit the Bendigo Regional HR Network page.
Learn more about the Employment Law Fundamentals and some of the key pieces of legislation every employer should know when it comes to employing staff.
For legal advice that protects your interests phone now for an appointment: Bendigo 03 5434 6666; Castlemaine 03 5472 1588 or Melbourne by appointment.
- Victoria’s new Wage Theft Bill and what it means for employers
- Minimum Wage Increase
- New Workplace Manslaughter laws come into effect on 1 July
- Talking COVID 19 – Navigating Employment Law Challenges
- JobKeeper Payments – a welcome relief for businesses
- The Impact of COVID-19 on Retail Leases and Employment Law
- Understanding Unfair Dismissals
- Employing Staff – 5 tips for Small Business Owners
- Employment Law Fundamentals
- Minimum Wage Set to Rise