We all love Google. We no longer need encyclopaedias, maps, history or recipe books, or even a wise old family member who knows the answer to just about everything (even if they do occasionally make up the answer on the spot!). No, these days all we need is a device connected to the internet and the ability to spell ‘google’ to find everything we need.
Well, almost everything.
If you’ve ever bought a house, invested in shares, or been married (or divorced), chances are you discovered some things still require interaction with a real person who is an expert in their respective field. Similarly, the reason your clients turn to you for advice and support instead of just ‘googling’ it is because you know about their business, you care about their success, and you’re a trusted source of reliable information.
So isn’t it amazing that so many small business owners still ‘google’ the answers to their HR and employment relations-related questions. They (or you!) search for hours on line to find answers to questions like:
- can I cash-out my employee’s annual leave?
- is my employee entitled to long service leave?
- how much do I need to pay my employees?
- How much notice does my employee receive if I dismiss them?
- Can I withhold an amount from an employee’s final pay?
Your clients probably also read ‘whirlpool forums’ where well-meaning (but completely ill-informed) members of the public drop in their own two-cents worth with answers like ‘I’m sure it’s allowed, especially if the employee agrees’ or ‘I’ve never heard of that being a problem before’ or ‘common sense suggests it should be fine’.
Unfortunately, ‘Anders’ posting his ‘helpful’ response from Denmark probably isn’t completely across Australia’s incredibly detailed and hopelessly complex employment laws. After all, we are the only country in the world that has rolled our more than a hundred ‘Modern Awards’, along with ten National Employment Standards (NES) and an Act that is more than 650 pages long!
For example, did you know that in many cases it’s unlawful to cash-out annual leave? And that casuals do accrue long service leave? Or that your client can be fined $51,000 if they deduct the cost of lost company-owned property from an employee’s final pay?
So just where should you (or your client) get the information they need to ensure they’re managing their employees in full-compliance with Australian employment laws? There are a few places you can go with (at least) some degree of confidence:
- The Fair Work Ombudsman’s website: fairwork.gov.au
- The Fair Work Commission’s website: fwc.gov.au
- Your state or territory’s dedicated long service leave and workplace health and safety agencies
Your other option is to consider a subscription to HR Advice Online – Australia’s only dedicated HR and employment relations service specifically built to make it easy for accountants, bookkeepers and business advisors to obtain written answers to all their client’s HR-related questions. At just $495 per year it’s the service you’ve been looking for!
© David Bates is the Managing Director of Workforce Guardian, Australia’s leading HR and employment relations service for employers. Discover more at: http://www.workforceguardian.com.au/hr-advice-online-for-clients/
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