Welcome to 2020

Welcome to 2020

2020 is here and there is no denying that the month of January has already flown by! Most employees have had the opportunity to take time off over the Christmas period to recharge their batteries and are now back at work, full steam ahead.

In order to ensure that your business is headed in the right direction for 2020, we strongly encourage you to start off on the right foot by taking the time to review your HR practices, employment contracts and clarify and confirm modern award coverage. This is particularly important given the changes to the modern award annualised salary provisions which are set to commence on 1 March 2020 and the increase in wage theft cases which was a prevalent issue in 2019. Now is also the perfect time to update your policies and procedures and to remind employees of the company’s expectations.

In addition to ensuring your HR practices are above board, we have compiled a short check list of important changes to the law that you should be prepared for. We also encourage you to keep an eye out for updates during the year:

1. Human Rights Act – The Human Rights Act 2019 commenced in Queensland on 1 January 2020, providing greater protections for Queenslanders dealing with public entities, including state Government, local government, public service employees and other organisations performing public work.

2. Whistleblower Policies – 1 January 2020 was the deadline for ensuring that all public companies, large proprietary companies and corporate trustees of registrable superannuation entities have a whistleblower policy that is compliant with the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Act 2019. If your company is required to have a whistleblower policy, it is important not to forget that employees and “eligible recipients” should be provided with adequate training to ensure that they understand the process for making a whistleblower complaint and how they will be protected during the investigation process.

3. Modern Award Annualised Salary Provisions – As at 1 March 2020 new annualised salary provisions will commence in a number of modern awards. It is important that you take the time to familiarise yourself with the changes and start preparing as the changes provide onerous obligations which employers must comply with. To learn more about what you should be doing to prepare, please get in contact with our office.

4. Mondelez Appeal – You will recall in 2019 that we provided numerous updates regarding the changes to how personal/carer’s leave is calculated. An appeal against the decision has been lodged in the High Court and we anticipate further changes will occur once a decision is handed down.

5. Wage theft – with the high influx of underpayments of wages in 2019, it is anticipated that the Fair Work Ombudsman will continue to crack down on wage theft, especially given the implementation of the new modern award annualised salary provisions. We cannot stress the importance of carrying out calculations and performing regular reconciliations to ensure that your employees are being paid the correct wage when compared to an applicable modern award or industrial instrument or the national minimum wage for your award free employees.

6. Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) Reports – If your business earns a consolidated revenue of more than $100 million, you will need to ensure that you publish your report by 31 December 2020.

After reading our tips on what you should be doing to make sure your HR practices are compliant with the law in 2020, your to do list has probably grown!  If you need any assistance for example, in reviewing your employment contracts or policies and procedures, you should get in contact with our office.

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