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  • HR Heartbeat: The Right to Disconnect, Ramadan, the switch from weekly to hourly rates, and...

HR Heartbeat: The Right to Disconnect, Ramadan, the switch from weekly to hourly rates, and...

HR Heartbeat is here to keep you updated on all the HR headlines you care about. From Ramadan to the Ombudsman’s update and so much more, read all about it.

First published on Thursday, Mar 09, 2023

Last updated on Thursday, Mar 30, 2023

3 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.

Ramadan has begun

Wednesday, March 22nd marked the start of the Holy month for Muslims around the world. As your staff begins this fasting period it’s important to put measures in place to support them.

Learn how your Muslim staff’s daily routine may change and the things you can do to create a supportive environment at work in our blog post—5 best HR practices for supporting employees during Ramadan.

The work-life balancing act continues...

The work-life balance scale may be tipping. Adam Bandt, the Greens leader, has introduced the Fair Work Amendment (Right to Disconnect) Bill 2023. The Bill proposes to protect employees switching off and logging off outside of work hours without their bosses being able to contact them.

Employers would still be able to reach out in an emergency; for a genuine welfare matter, or if the employee is receiving an allowance for staying available and contactable to their employer

Because this is a Private Member’s Bill, it’s unlikely to pass in Parliament. But if it does, two questions remain:

  1. What counts as an emergency?
  2. How can businesses use this right and what are the consequences for abusing it?

As always, employment law uncertainty isn’t good for you or your employees. Luckily, our 24/7 employment relations advice line—BrightAdvice—has your back.

Time is relative, but not to the Ombudsman

On February 9th 2023, the Fair Work Ombudsman—a workplace governing body—changed its mind about the interpretation of the Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2020.

For over a decade, the Ombudsman calculated pay rates for a range of technical field, trainee, cadet, and higher engineering apprentice employees according to the award’s minimum weekly pay rate.

But, now it’s decided to calculate pay rates according to the minimum hourly rate. This means, employers who relied previously on the Ombudsman’s pay guide or Pay and Conditions Tool may have been underpaying their employees by one or two cents per hour.

If alarm bells aren’t ringing in your ears, they should! The Ombudsman has decided that this is how pay rates should have always been calculated. So, they may act against businesses if employers fail to fix what is essentially the Ombudsman’s own mistake.

Not-so-casual weekend penalty rates

For employers under the Hair and Beauty Industry Award 2020, casual employees just got a little more expensive.

Starting on the 30th of April 2023, Saturday and Sunday penalty rates for casual employees (who aren’t working for your business full-time or part-time) will increase by 5% following a Fair Work Commission decision.

Making sure your payroll reflects these changes is essential to protect yourself from potential claims. Not sure how to stay compliant? Make sure with the help of BrightAdvice.

And that’s all we have for you in our weekly edition of HR Heartbeat. Check back next week for more headlines and updates that will help keep you on top of all the major employment changes coming your way!

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