Hi everyone. Welcome back to our monthly update on employment relations legislation changes. This month, the Fair Work Commission has finalized their decision to update all modern award provisions on flexible working arrangements. From the first of December, employers will have additional obligations when addressing a request for flexible working arrangements. Where eligible employees make a request, employers will need to hold discussions with them to genuinely try and reach and agreement to accommodate the need for flexible working arrangements. If the request cannot be accommodated, employers will need to establish whether alternate working arrangements can be offered to address the needs of the employee before rejecting a request. It’s important to remember that rejecting a request for flexible working arrangements will need to be based on reasonable business grounds.
Any alternate arrangements agreed between parties or reasonable business grounds for refusing a request will also need to be detailed in a written response to the employee in accordance with the applicable modern award. A number of modern awards have been updated in line with the commission’s new plan language redrafting process. The award provisions now set out certain conditions that need to be met when withholding payments from employees who resign without providing the required notice period. The awards confirm that when withholding for inadequate resignation notice, a maximum of one week can be withheld only from award wages, not above award entitlements. This can only be done for employees who are at least 18 years old, and where it’s reasonable in the circumstances.
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s previous position on first aid allowances under the Clerks Private Sector Award has been reviewed by the Fair Work Commission. It was previously viewed that a weekly first aid allowance could be paid on a pro rata basis. However, a decision was released confirming that employees who are trained and required to render first aid should be paid the full weekly allowance regardless of the number of hours they work. The minimum pay rates for some employees in the social and community services industry will need to be increased from the first of December. If your employees come under the social and community services or crisis accommodation streams, within the Social Community Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award, you may need to increase their wages in line with the changes.
If you have any questions about these changes and how they may impact your business, please get in touch. We hope you have a happy holiday, and we’ll catch you next time.