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Inspire Success

Providing hints, tips and ideas that help you maintain high performing workplaces that are customer focussed and free of conflict


Rae Phillips - Wednesday, June 11, 2014
The Fair Work Commission yesterday handed down its 2014 Annual Wage Review Decision, which can be summarised as follows:

All Modern Award rates of pay are to be increased by 3%, effective from the first full pay period commencing on or after Tuesday 1 July 2014.

This wage increase can be absorbed into any existing over award payments (check the absorption clause in your Modern Awards - usually this is in clause 2.2 or there about).

The default casual loading for Award free casual employees will increase from 24% to 25%, effective from the first full pay period commencing on or after Tuesday 1 July 2014.

Is this something you need some advice on? Contact one of our Advisors on 1300 620 100 or

The High Income Threshold is Higher

Rae Phillips - Wednesday, June 11, 2014
From 1 July 2014, the High Income Threshold will increase to $133,179. 
Here are the key implications for those of you who have high income earners in your business:

  • Employees who earn more than the threshold are ineligible for compensation or reinstatement pursuant to the unfair dismissal rules unless they are covered by a modern award or an enterprise agreement;

  • When calculating total earnings, you should include wages, agreed monetary value of non-monetary benefits (such as extra superannuation), and amounts dealt with on the employee’s behalf (such as a salary sacrifice arrangement);

  • You shouldn't include amounts which cannot be determined in advance (for example, a bonus) or allowances paid to employees that are not used on work-related expenses.

In the past Employers have been caught out because they assumed that all amounts paid to employees counted toward the threshold, or because they thought that the seniority of employees excluded them from the unfair dismissal jurisdiction.

There are some hints and tips to setting up the high income earners contract of employment, and we recommend always using a professional to do this.

Is this something that could be an issue at your workplace? Get in contact with the Advisors at Inspire Success - 1300 620 100 or

Your TOP THREE Work Health and Safety questions answered

Rae Phillips - Monday, May 12, 2014
1. How do I know if my business is WHS compliant?

Individual state health and safety legislation and the WHS Act impose obligations on businesses to:
1. Provide a safe place to work
2. Provide safe systems of work and
3. Consult with employees about safety

There are also secondary duties to:
1. Identify hazards
2. Manage risks and
3. Implement and monitor control measures

To ensure your business is carrying out these essential duties your business could require an audit and will require ongoing inspections and management reviews. All Managers within a business must know and understand their legal duties and ensure they are carrying them out correctly.

An audit is a documented process where the health and safety systems, policies and procedures in the workplace are reviewed. The audit will determine whether your policies, procedures and systems etc comply with legislative requirements and best practice in health and safety. An audit can be completed by an external provider or an employee who is appropriately trained. An inspection is an actual examination of your workplace for hazards and could involve a walk around your workplace or a formal planned inspection. An inspection can be carried out by senior management, management, a health and safety representative, your health and safety committee or an employee. Your inspections should be frequent and should be monitored. Your audits should be checked regularly also to ensure the requirements are being met continuously.

2. Who has health and safety duties in relation to first aid?

A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) has the primary duty under the WHS Act to ensure (so far as is reasonably practicable) that workers and other persons are not exposed to health and safety risks arising from the business or undertaking.
The WHS Regulations place specific obligations on a person conducting a business or undertaking in relation to first aid, including requirements to:
  • provide first aid equipment and ensure each worker at the workplace has access to the equipment;
  • ensure access to facilities for the administration of first aid;
  • ensure that an adequate number of workers are trained to administer first aid at the workplace or that workers have access to an adequate number of other people who have been trained to administer first aid.
A person conducting a business or undertaking may not need to provide first aid equipment or facilities if these are already provided by another duty holder at the workplace and they are adequate and easily accessible at the times that the workers carry out work.

Officers, such as company directors, have a duty to exercise due diligence to ensure that the business or undertaking complies with the WHS Act and Regulations. This includes taking reasonable steps to ensure that the business or undertaking has and uses appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise risks to health and safety.

Workers have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and must not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons. Workers must comply with any reasonable instruction and cooperate with any reasonable policy or procedure relating to health and safety at the workplace, such as procedures for first aid and for reporting injuries and illnesses.

One of the regulations (42) under the new act states that when considering how to provide first aid, a person conducting a business or undertaking must consider all relevant matters including:
  • the nature of the work being carried out at the workplace;
  • the nature of the hazards at the workplace;
  • the size, location and nature of the workplace;
  • the number and composition of the workers at the workplace.

3. What obligations does my company have to vehicles owned by the company and to vehicles owned by employees and driven in the process of carrying out their duties?

Both private and company owned cars will be considered ‘plant’ within the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. This means that the company is under an obligation to provide and maintain the vehicles so that employees are not exposed to hazards.

Some good practices would include checking vehicles annually and asking employees to sign a declaration confirming they have their vehicles maintained regularly. Ensure your employees receive any refresher driving training courses as required.  

Inspire Success can help you to complete a WHS Audit and provide you with important recommendations and guidance to ensure your business is WHS compliant.

Is this something that could be helpful at your place? Contact Inspire Success for further information             Inspire Success is all about making HR SIMPLE - no matter what size your business is. 

Improving Employee Communications

Rae Phillips - Monday, May 12, 2014
Internal communications includes all communication within a business. It could be oral or written, face to face or virtual, one-on-one or in groups and of course via social media. Today there are a plethora of techniques and technologies used to communicate, both up/down and side-to-side within an organization.

Whereas the ‘top-down’, employer-driven communication is great for setting a communication agenda or discussion point, it is the peer-to-peer employee communications that often determines the tone of the business. As you may have experienced in the past, employees are given a message and then informally discuss with each other their views and opinions, out of earshot of ‘the boss’. Smart organizations recognise that employees will always talk with each other and to others, so it is better to set the agenda and informal discussion points than have them dictated by uninformed staff.

We know that communicating more effectively with employees is a useful and powerful way of improving greater ‘engagement’ – but what can you do? 

Smart businesses realize that in environments where employees are able to move from one employer to another with relative ease, it is in the company’s best interests to retain the smarter and more productive employees; doing all they can to communicate with them, inform them, influence them and entering into some sort of psychological contract with them is a wise move.  

Think about how you recruit, what messages do you send to potential new employees? What about at induction, how do you help them come on board quickly , with support from the business and their team mates? How do you follow up how they are settling in? How are you checking that any issues have been addressed? What do you do when someone is not performing to your expectations? And how do you exit your people - are they leaving with dignity regardless of whether the decision was theirs or not?

Successful employers recognise that an unhappy and trapped employee is a potential liability. Of  great concern are the findings that just under half of all employees who left their employer did so because of a bad experience, such as being passed over for promotion, because of ongoing unresolved issues or their direct manager. How can your human resources structure and systems support your  internal communications?

Is this something that could be helpful at your place? Contact Inspire Success for further information             Inspire Success is all about making HR SIMPLE - no matter what size your business is. 

Practical implications of the Bullying legislation changes

Rae Phillips - Sunday, April 27, 2014

By now, everyone should know that from 1 January 2014, employees and other workers are able to make a new type of claim to the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) to make bullying at work stop. And if you don't, there will be no excuses!

We know that employers have always had an obligation to provide a workplace that is free from bullying, but this is the first time the Fair Work Commission has had any responsibility for resolving these matters. So you need to know and understand the implications of these changes and make sure you are taking steps to protect your business.

Bullying at work

I am not going to define it, but you should already know that bullying at work occurs when:

  • a person or a group of people repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards a worker or a group of workers at work and
  • the behaviour creates a risk to health and safety.

It may involve any of the following types of behaviour:

  • aggressive or intimidating conduct;
  • belittling or humiliating comments;
  • spreading malicious rumours;
  • teasing, practical jokes or ‘initiation ceremonies’;
  • exclusion from work-related events;
  • unreasonable work expectations, including too much or too little work, or work below or beyond a worker’s skill level;
  • displaying offensive material; and/or
  • pressure to behave in an inappropriate manner.

Although bullying requires repetitive behaviour, even a one off incident of this type of behaviour towards a person because of a protected attribute, such as sex, age, disability or race may breach anti-discrimination legislation.

Employers obligations

If you do NOTHING ELSE, you must include having a bullying and harassment policy in place that clearly sets out what you expect in terms of behaviour. Regardless of the size of your business, we suggest that your should include conducting bullying and harassment training on a regular basis to ensure workers know and understand the policy.

Do these basics
  • Have a clear policy;
  • Provide this to all employees through a workshop where everyone has a chance to ask questions;
  • The definition of employee has changed, now you should include contractors, volunteers and anyone else who comes to your workplace;
  • Get your existing team to sign off on their understanding and willingness to work in the appropriate way;
  • As new people come on board make sure the policy is part of your pre-employment policies and they attend a training session to understand it really well;
  • All supervisors or leaders must have training on what to do if someone brings a complaint or issue to them;
  • Repeat all of this on a regular basis - maybe 6 or 12 monthly depending on the size and turnover of your business;
  • Immediately action any complaint or issue that is bought to you or your team - don't think it will go away - it will only get worse.

Is this something that could be helpful at your place? Contact Inspire Success for further information             Inspire Success is all about making HR SIMPLE - no matter what size your business is. 

Train people well enough that they can leave Treat them well enough that they dont want to

Rae Phillips - Saturday, April 26, 2014

Inspire Success and the Central Coast Teleworking Strategy

Rae Phillips - Thursday, April 24, 2014
Following last months launch of the Central Coast Teleworking Strategy and the regions commitment of creating 1,000,000 teleworking days on the Coast by 2020, Inspire Success and the way we work was showcased.

Rae called in from Santiago and Terri provided a face to face presence talking about how we use teleworking to make things happen. This video shows the entire strategy launch, our section runs from 23.34mins.

4 steps for managing your independent contractor risks

Rae Phillips - Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Do you engage independent contractors at your place? For many of us, this is a perfect way to access skills and knowledge you need in the business on a short term basis. There are also risks - here are 4 steps for managing your independent contractor risks.

1.  Consider the relationship 

Before engaging any independent contractors,you need to consider the type of relationship you want to create. 

Ask yourself, why am I engaging this particular employee? What type of work will they be doing? What role are they filling? What gap are they plugging? How long do you need them for? Do I need someone with specialised skills or knowledge? And, can we do the work in-house?

2. Draft the contract carefully

It is critical that you get advice on what  the independent contractors contract should – and shouldn't – contain.

The contract must reflect the relationship with the worker and the organisation and be clear about the expectations, roles, and interaction that they will have. It must also be clear that the worker is not a direct employee.

3. Know your obligations 

There are often obligations that apply to workers even though they're not employees. For example, the work health and safety laws, which apply in all states bar WA and Victoria extend health and safety obligations beyond the traditional employee/employer relationships to all workers onsite.

4. Keep an eye on things 

When the work arrangements are in place, you must regularly check that the relationship is still the one you intended to create, and hasn't changed over time. 

Many of the issues we see in this situation is that the nature of the relationship changes over time, this could mean that you have an independent contractor working with you who can be deemed as an employee. 

The implications of getting independent contractor arrangements wrong are far reaching. You can very easily become vicariously liable if a person who you consider to be an independent contractor was found to be an employee and then have a range of entitlements that you may have to pay out. There's penalties that can be imposed [and] tax implications. It's far and wide.

Is this something that could be helpful at your place? Contact Inspire Success for further information             Inspire Success is all about making HR SIMPLE - no matter what size your business is.

Our favourite ways to introduce flexible work practices

Rae Phillips - Saturday, April 12, 2014

Improving employee engagement will improve productivity and profit at your place. One of the things we can do to help is to make sure our workplaces provide flexibility. Flexibility at work means different things to different people, so have a look at this list of our favourites:

Job-share: When two or more people share the responsibilities, hours, salary and benefits of one full-time job.

Part-time: When an employee works less than full-time capacity and has reasonably predictable hours of work. They receive the same entitlements as a full-time employee but on a pro rata basis.

Employee-choice rostering: This allows employees to elect or choose shifts on a permanent or rotating basis that best suits their caring responsibilities.

Working from home: Involves employees working away from the office, usually at home. It can occur on a full-time, part-time, temporary or permanent basis.

Flexible working hours: When a set number of hours per week or month are determined with flexibility about when they are achieved.

Hours’ bank: Additional hours may be worked and stored in a ‘bank’ for quieter periods.

Annualised working hours: Involves rearranging the hours that staff work throughout the year to meet seasonal or fluctuating workloads. These hours are paid at a standardised weekly rate, even though the hours actually worked may vary during the year.

Compressed workweek: Usually involves working full-time hours over fewer days. For example, 3 38 hour x 5 day week may be worked over 4 days.

Seasonal start and finish time: Usually applicable to outdoors industries – summer work starts at dawn and finishes early while winter work starts later.

Purchased annual leave: Enables an employee to purchase additional leave during the course of the year. That means an employee would receive an additional 4 weeks’ paid leave per year as the employee’s 48-week salary is paid over 52 weeks. This can also work on 2- or 6-week purchase plan.

Extended unpaid leave: When an employee has exhausted their leave entitlements but still requires more time off. Additional leave days are granted without pay or loss of job and are usually for short periods.

Make up time: Where time away from work is made up at another time, usually within close proximity to the occurrence. No pay changes occur as a result

Change travel and overnight stays: When travel is reduced or timings changed to accommodate employee requirements, e.g. they do not have to travel during school holidays.

Sabbaticals: This is an extended period away from work to pursue study or other development activities. Some employers pay employees while on sabbatical, while others do not pay but allow the time away.

Is this something that could be helpful at your place? Contact Inspire Success for further information            Inspire Success is all about making HR SIMPLE - no matter what size your business is. 

Thanks to 

Charles Power of the 

Employment Law Practical Handbook for many of these ideas.

Benefits for Small Businesses of Outsourcing your HR

Rae Phillips - Monday, April 07, 2014
Small business owners might think that outsourcing HR functions only benefits large companies. The perception is that outsourcing is designed to help only these larger operations streamline their business functions and cut down on costs. But in today’s economy, there is an increasing need for small businesses to consider the financial and other potential practical benefits of outsourcing human resource functions to a trusted provider.

Some of the advantages of small business HR outsourcing may include:

1. The ability to focus on business productivity: Instead of spending time handling routine administrative tasks, employers can focus on more strategic functions of the business that can have greater rates of return.

2. An enterprise-class solution: Small businesses may be able to enjoy enterprise-class benefits from HR outsourcing, which can help them save costs and compete more effectively with other small businesses and their larger counterparts.

3. Access to latest technology at a manageable cost: Growing enterprises may have minimal resources to invest in infrastructure and state-of-the-art equipment to run their businesses. With an outside expert running some of the functions, businesses may enjoy better technological systems without necessarily having to own them. This may help cut down on their operating costs.

4. Help with compliance: This is one area where many small businesses struggle to keep up, especially with the changing laws pertaining to hiring and firing, insurance and bullying claims, work health and safety and payroll, penalty and overtime requirements. The greatest challenge is that failure to comply can lead to serious financial consequences. Outsourcing HR functions to a trusted provider can help business owners understand and take action to comply with these laws and regulations.

When you’re ready to outsource HR functions, consider a company’s experience, “How long have they provided these services, and for how many businesses?”, their financial stability, “Is their financial information a matter of public record?”, and do they offer personal service, “Can I work with an HR professional on-site?”, "Can I call them only when I need them?"

Is this something that could be an issue at your place? Inspire Success is all about making HR SIMPLE - no matter what size your business is. Contact Inspire Success for further information 

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