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  • HR Heartbeat: Public holiday to celebrate the Matildas? Parental leave confusion, and...

HR Heartbeat: Public holiday to celebrate the Matildas? Parental leave confusion, and...

Crack right into this week’s HR Heartbeat for the lowdown on the potential snap public holiday, updates on the 4-day working week trials, and why the thought doesn’t always count.

First published on Sunday, Aug 13, 2023

Last updated on Friday, Aug 11, 2023

5 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.

Will the Matildas win their way to a public holiday?

They just might!

With the Matildas winning themselves a spot in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Quarter-final, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s idea to petition the states and territories to implement a public holiday could be close to becoming a reality.

The team has already won plenty of hearts around the country and broken major records with their performance so far.

More than 3.8 million people watched the Matildas win against Denmark on their screens. A figure that beats the number of viewers pulled in by last year’s AFL and NRL Grand Finals, and the State of Origin.

But the joy of winning may be overshadowed by the snap public holiday scheduling nightmare it could turn into for small businesses.

So, while not all state and territory leaders are convinced that a public holiday is the best way to celebrate the monumental achievement of the national team, small businesses should also get set for what a public holiday may mean for their operations.

Find out more by asking BrightLightning: Is there going to be a public holiday if the Matildas win the FIFA Women's World Cup?

What’s tougher than parenthood? Parental leave confusion

Just like the changes brought on by new parenthood can transform anyone’s life, changes to parental leave seem to have transformed the clarity of leave entitlements.

The University of South Australia's Centre for Workplace Excellence recently found that 30% of pregnant women received no information about their upcoming leave entitlements from their employers.

Given the recent updates to both paid and unpaid parental leave—on top of the different rules that apply based on whether employees adopted or had a child before or after 1 July 2023—the reason for the lack of information may just be a lack of understanding.

After all, employers don’t want to support their employees with the wrong information or take a potentially illegal decision.

To make sure you’re giving your employees accurate information, ask BrightLightning:

What is flexible parental leave?

What are the benefits of paid parental leave in Australia?

There’s a lot more where that came from.

Or you can make sure you’re always on the right side of the law by getting in touch with our team of employment relations advisers for up-to-date, round-the-clock advice.

Leave another day on the cutting room floor

The four-day working week has been trialled time and time again. And now, again.

Most businesses have been evaluating the impact of a four-day work week while holding it at arm’s length, but it seems others are willing to take the leap. Australia’s own Bunnings Warehouse announced in May that they’re trialling it themselves.

Previous trials have yielded positive results. Results that include more productive employees, and a reduction in relative rates of absenteeism and turnover.

But, of course, it takes planning to put a change as significant as this one into action. Workforce planning tools like our easy-to-use, smart work shift and roster planner can make big transitions like this one smoother.

It’s the thought that counts...

But maybe not when it comes to dismissals.

When an employee was under a criminal investigation by the Western Australia Police and was being investigated by the NDIS commission, their employer suspended them.

The suspension letter read, “When the investigation is complete, we will let you know the outcome as soon as possible”.

So far, so good. Trouble seeped in with what happened after the investigation ended. The employer informed the Commission that they had dismissed the employee back in July 2023, but they forgot to tell the “dismissed” employee this crucial fact.

The Commission concluded that this key point meant that the employee had never actually been dismissed. So, despite having reasonable grounds for dismissing the employee, because the employer failed to actually communicate this, they now have to answer to a case.

So, if there’s one lesson for employers here it’s an obvious one. When it comes to dismissal, the thought doesn’t count.

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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