Workplace relations questions answered

Workplace relations questions answered

The Murray-Riverina NSW Business Chamber have released a guide to their most frequently asked Workplace Relations questions.

The Chamber says they receive over 200, 000 phone calls a year from businesses and employees seeking to navigate the “minefield” of Workplace Relations law, from employers who suspect their worker isn’t really sick, to new employees wondering exactly how their annual leave works.

Murray-Riverina Chamber of Commerce Regional Manager Ben Foley says keeping on top of the intricate laws can put a strain on businesses.

“Business owners have enough to worry about, let alone spending countless hours each week ensuring they are across all of the changes to workplace relations, superannuation, workers compensation, and taxation changes. I’m not surprised that there still remains a large number of misconceptions in the workplace relations space,” he said.

Christine Webb is a consultant for Aspire Quality Assurance and Training. She says local businesses tend to be across the Workplace Relations legislation relevant to their industries, but it’s the wider laws that can be an issue.

“Local businesses of course have knowledge and intellect, they’re very knowledgeable about any legislation that applies to their industry and their business,” she said. “Specific industries need to be up to date with the standards that they need. For example, hotels and motels need to know everything about food handling, licensing, and so on. Whatever legislation affects their industry, they’ll be up to date on that.

“Where it falls down is new legislation that may come through on HR legislation, things like that – things outside their trade that need to be applied to their business, that can be complex and difficult to keep up to date.”

Here are a few answers to help clear things up:

Do I have to provide a Doctors certificate each time I am sick?
No, only if requested by your employer or as per your absenteeism policy. The Fair Work Act also states that any form of reasonable evidence will suffice. This may be in the form of a doctor’s certificate, statutory declaration or potentially even chemist receipts.

Does my personal/carer’s leave accumulate from year to year?
PCL accrues from the date of commencement and any unused leave carries over into the following year.

Do I have to provide notice of termination to an employee still under probation?
Permanent employees are entitled to notice at any time during their employment, in accordance with their contract, award or the National Employment Standards. The only exception to this rule would be if the employee is terminated for serious misconduct.

Are casuals entitled to long service leave?
Casuals are entitled to long service leave in accordance with state legislation.

I’m in my first year of working in a new business, am I entitled to annual leave?
Annual Leave accrues from the date of commencement and can be taken by agreement between the employer and employee at any time.

Can my employee take personal/carer’s leave within their first three months?
Yes they are entitled to do so.

Do I have to give my employee three months warning before termination?
There is no obligation to provide formal written warnings, however following a fair and reasonable process may assist the employer if the employee takes further action.