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Managing flexible working arrangements

Posted on April 28, 2016 by admin

Small businesses operating in an ever-changing environment increasingly need to ensure they get flexible working schemes right. Finding the right balance can be mutually beneficial for both your business and employees.

Business owners are responsible for effectively implementing and managing flexible working arrangements that ensure all employees are satisfied. Here are some things to consider when approaching flexible working schemes:

Employer obligations
Flexible working arrangements not only make commercial sense but employers are legally obliged to consider the arrangement where an employee applies. Therefore, consideration needs to be given to all employee requests and when assessing applications you must make sure that they are not unfairly disadvantaged by their personal circumstances.

It is important to remain up-to-date with the latest legal documents, contracts and processes to ensure your business complies within its legal requirements.

Adopt a specific policy
Introducing a specific policy so decisions are clear and consistent for all employees is vital to the success of flexible working schemes. Inform employees of your expectations when commencing an arrangement, such as using an ‘out-of-office’ message when away, sharing employee work schedules and online calendars etc.

Performance management
Reviewing flexible arrangements on a regular basis is a great opportunity to provide feedback to your employees and make any necessary changes. Conducting performance reviews for staff on flexible arrangements should be the same as for anyone else. Business owners may also want to consider gaining feedback from colleagues as these arrangements need to work for the whole team to succeed.

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Avoiding mortgage default

Posted on August 26, 2020 by admin

As individuals struggle with cash flow through the coronavirus, the Australian Bankers Association records that repayments on almost 500,000 mortgages have been deferred for six months. While repayments can be delayed, they cannot be avoided altogether.

Lenders can send you a default notice the day your repayment is overdue. However, they could also wait until your repayment is overdue by 90 or more days. When you receive a default notice, you are given 30 days to repay the amounts you have missed in addition to the regular repayment on your loan. Individuals who are struggling with their home loan repayments can avoid mortgage default by considering the following.

Contact your lender
Lenders are generally willing to work with you through financial hardship. Don’t be afraid to contact your lender to discuss your situation and find out what options are available for you. Lenders are often willing to negotiate short-term variations to repayment schedules that both parties can agree to. However, make sure that you do not agree to unrealistic repayment conditions that cannot be met.

Many Australian banks are offering a six-month deferral on mortgage repayments (including interest) for customers who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. If this is you, contact your bank to see if this is an option.

Apply for a hardship variation
Mortgage holders may be able to change the terms of their loan or temporarily pause or reduce their repayments under a hardship variation. A hardship variation can still be requested after you receive a mortgage default. To apply for one, contact your lender’s “hardship officer” and tell them that you wish to change your loan repayments due to financial hardship. This will usually require you to explain why you are struggling to make payments and to estimate how long your financial problems will continue to determine how much you can afford to repay.

After submitting a hardship variation request, your lender must contact you within 21 days with the outcome of your request. They may ask you for more details regarding your request; in this case, they must contact you again within 21 days from when you provide the additional information.

Consider selling your home
Selling your home is a tough decision, but in some cases this may be the better option if your circumstances are unlikely to improve. If you get to the point where your lender takes possession of your home and sells it, it’s likely that you won’t make as much as if you sold it yourself. When you sell your house on your own terms, chances are you will get a better price and avoid having to pay the legal fees passed on by your lender. Inform your lender if you decide to sell your home; they may ask for proof, such as a copy of the contract with your real estate agent or property advertisements.

Renting out your home until you can afford to make repayments again may also be an option if you are able to live somewhere else during this period.

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