Detailed and comprehensive Contracts of Employment are essential for all employees.
A Contract of Employment is a comprehensive document that clearly describes the terms and conditions of employment. Such a Contract would be prepared for employees who are covered by Awards or Enterprise Agreements or who are Award or Enterprise Agreement free.
They need to contain all relevant terms and conditions that apply to the employee’s employment with the organisation. The Contract will also provide details on date of commencement (and completion, if a fixed term contract), the position to which the employee has been appointed; the Award/Agreement that covers their employment (if applicable); and details of the salary package.
Even though an employee may be covered by an Award or Enterprise Agreement, it is strongly recommended that ALL employees are given a written Contract or Employment, prior to commencing in their role. The same should also be given to an existing employee whenever their position changes, ie through promotion or transfer to a new role within the organisation.
Contracts can be ambiguous if not carefully drafted, therefore even if they are comprehensive documents, they should be concise, easy to read and understood.
Bullying can be harmful for the workers who experience it and those who witness it. Each individual will react differently to bullying and in response to different situations.
Reactions may include any combination of the following:
• distress, anxiety, panic attacks or sleep disturbance
• physical illness, such as muscular tension, headaches and digestive problems
• reduced work performance
• loss of self-esteem and feelings of isolation
• deteriorating relationships with colleagues, family and friends
• depression and risk of suicide.
Those who witness bullying may experience guilt and fear because they cannot help or support the affected person in case they too get bullied. Witnesses may feel angry, unhappy or stressed with the workplace and may become unmotivated to work.
Bullying can be intentional, where the actions are intended to humiliate, offend, intimidate or distress, whether or not the behaviour did have that effect.
Bullying can also be unintentional, where actions which, although not intended to humiliate, offend, intimidate or distress, cause and should reasonably have been expected to cause that effect.
Sometimes people do not realise that their behaviour can be harmful to others. In some situations, behaviours may unintentionally cause distress and be perceived as bullying.
Bullying can be directed at a single worker or a group of workers and be carried out by one or more workers.
Bullying can be:
• Downwards from managers to workers — for example, a manager or supervisor in a position of power may have a management style that seems to be strict or disciplinary when in fact it is bullying.
• Sideways between workers or co-workers — for example, a co-worker seeking to enhance their position or sense of power in the workplace.
• Upwards from workers to supervisors or managers — for example, workers may bully their manager or supervisor to try and drive them from the workplace.
Bullying can also damage organisations. It can lead to:
• high staff turnover and associated recruitment and training costs
• low morale and motivation
• increased absenteeism
• lost productivity
• disruption to work when complex complaints are being investigated, and
• costly Return to Work claims or legal action.
Enterprise Agreement bargaining has been a key service provided by Pinnacle HR to Employers across a broad range of industries over the past 20 years.
Enterprise Agreements provide terms and conditions of employment that are specific to the workplace. These Agreements should be designed to give the Employer a degree of flexibility.
The assistance Pinnacle HR provides to Employers includes:
• Discussing strategies
• Drafting Agreements
• Negotiating with Employees/Unions
• Representation in the Commission
• Lodging Agreements.
Pinnacle HR has extensive experience in Industrial Dispute negotiation and resolution.
We provide employers with strategies or negotiate on the Employers’ behalf in relation to:
• Union Claims,
• Representation of Employers in negotiations with unions and employees,
• Representation in Industrial Tribunals and assistance with:
• Unfair dismissal claims,
• Underpayment of wages claims,
• Redundancy procedures,
• Industrial disputation.
It is advisable to enlist the services of an independent investigator if a complaint or misconduct investigation cannot be handled objectively internally, or you don’t have the skills and resources necessary to undertake a comprehensive investigation. It is also advisable when senior management is involved in the complaint and/or the investigation could be subjected to an external review.
Pinnacle HR’s approach to investigations in the workplace ensure that obligations of procedural fairness and natural justice are met, and the investigation will meet the standards of any external agencies. We ensure a fair and impartial process, adhering to confidentiality and the statutory requirements.
A workplace investigation will deal with the matter at hand, and recommend outcomes that take into account the underlying causes of the complaint such as miscommunication or diversity issues, procedural failures or hazardous management methods.
Investigations are undertaken with diligence and thoroughness, and a comprehensive report is produced that includes findings based on the balance of probabilities where a complaint has been proven, and recommendations to address the complaint moving forward.
Our team of consultants have comprehensive experience in conducting investigations across a diverse range of workplaces. Independent, experienced investigators can make all the difference to the outcome of your workplace issue, and can assist with mitigating the risk to your organisation.
Discipline of an employee may be the result of a performance issue or a serious misdemeanour.
Where an employee has poor performance or unacceptable behaviour it is incumbent on the Employer to bring the issue to the employee’s attention and to follow a formal performance management process.
A serious misdemeanour, after investigation and a formal disciplinary process, may result in termination of employment.
All Employers are encouraged to have a performance management process in place and also a formal disciplinary process and procedure.
Pinnacle HR Consultants can assist with attendance at disciplinary interviews and regularly represent Employers before the Fair Work Commission with unfair dismissals.
Pinnacle HR has prepared a Counselling, Discipline and Termination Handbook.
Employers are regularly faced with managing change in the workplace.
This change may result in Employers effecting restructuring with the resultant change to employees hours or shifts and may result in redundancy.
Pinnacle HR Consultants are able to assist Employers with:
• Developing options and strategies
• Undertaking restructuring reviews
• Identifying the process required of the Employer
• Representing Employers in negotiations with Unions and/or employees.
Employers are required to apply the terms and conditions provided in Awards to employees, unless where an Enterprise Agreement applies. An Employer cannot, even when an Enterprise Agreement applies, pay employees less than the Award rate of pay.
Pinnacle HR members may access and download Awards on the Pinnacle HR members website section.
They also receive emails to advise of any Award updates.
Pinnacle HR members have access to Human Resource Officers and Workplace Relations Consultants for Award support services.
Pinnacle HR provides and updates all wage schedules.
Pinnacle HR members have access via the website to wages schedules and are advised by email of any updates.