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New Rules: HR and Team Management Posted on April 21, 2020
Dealing with Covid-19 has changed the way business is conducted. This includes extensive changes to Awards and employment conditions. Many HR policies and procedures are now outdated, and will remain so permanently.
Business owners and leaders, who may be unaware of the changed rules, or mistakenly apply the rules, can find themselves liable for significant penalties and damages.
Seek appropriate professional advice before you take action. Some key points to consider:
Be very careful to follow the rules. Those businesses who apply for the payment on behalf of their staff need to ensure that all relevant employees are included (you cannot pick and choose), all employees are notified and have completed the JobKeeper Employee Nomination Notice, and that all business financial records can be supported with reportable evidence.
The Fair Work Commission has altered 99 modern awards to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes unpaid ‘pandemic leave’ and the flexibility to take twice as much annual leave at half pay. It is important to review staff leave requests against the FairWork Ombudsman Coronavirus Changes.
Working from Home
If this is applicable to your business, your team is probably underway with this one. Go through your Working From Home Policy with a fine-tooth comb and ensure your employees have read, understood and agreed to it and have a safe and practical work space. It may be useful to remind them of other policies and etiquette guides to things like dress code, videoconferencing and work in progress reporting.
Employees working from home may accidentally and/or unwittingly compromise sensitive information about your business if not supported with adequate security systems. You as an employer are responsible for the systems, processes and programs to comply with Privacy and Data Security laws.
Standing Down Employees
This is a difficult process at the best of times. Fair Work legislation still applies throughout this period of COVID-19. Check off against the requirements of standing down employees before you take action.
Performance Management Remotely
It is the role of the Manager to support the employee to be able to perform at their best, and the role of the employee to add value to the team and the business. The principals of optimum performance remain the same, albeit from the office or home. Communication and visibility is absolutely critical here. Set up a new way of working that includes time for formal workflow reviews and priority agreement, as well as less formal and conversational check-ins. Availability from all parties is important, as is realistic expectations, flexibility and respect for individual situations.
Mental Health Policy
This is a stressful time for many people. Business Managers are facing incredible pressure, often on their own. Some people are facing increased challenges at home such as juggling work and children home from school, or caring for family members who may be ill. It is important that you not only dust-off or create a Mental Wellbeing Policy, but that you put measures in place to support each other at this difficult time. Our ability to bounce back depends on it.