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What to consider when dismissing employees due to COVID-19

Posted on April 30, 2020 by admin

Despite unprecedented circumstances, employers still need to consider the requirements of dismissal under the Fair Work Act when ending employment to avoid legal action against them.

When dismissing or standing down employees due to COVID-19 limitations, employers must continue to comply with the applicable award, enterprise agreement, workplace policy or employment contract, as well as providing employees with their legal entitlements, such as notice, accrued leave and redundancy payments.

The Fair Work Act prohibits employers from dismissing employees due to illness or injury, meaning that if they have contracted COVID-19, or have symptoms that prevent them coming into work, they cannot be dismissed.

Employers who are affected by COVID-19, such as those who are facing business slow down or are shutting down may dismiss employees under redundancy. Employees may be entitled to redundancy pay if their continuous service to the employer is less than 12 months. Regular redundancy eligibility requirements still apply and not all employees will be eligible, such as casual workers, apprentices and trainees.

The Australian Government has enabled employers to make temporary and partial stand downs during COVID-19. Stand downs can be enforced without pay if the business has been closed due to enforceable government direction (non-essential services), if a significant portion of employees are under self-quarantine, or if work is forced to stop due to lack of supply.

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How to support your employees through COVID-19

Posted on May 18, 2020 by admin

Supporting your employees during chaotic times as an empathetic leader will improve your relationships within your business and boost personal confidence. Here are some ways you can support your employees mentally and financially during these uncertain times.

Be open with your employees
As businesses implode due to current economic circumstances, employees want transparency and closure over the state of the business and their employment. Thus, being open about your business’ finances and both your short-term and long-term growth initiatives when communicating with your employees will earn their trust and appreciation.

Being transparent over your employees’ job security is also a good idea, as unemployment is becoming a major concern for all Australians. Reassuring your employees and guaranteeing their safety will also boost productivity levels and business morale as a major source of anxiety is lifted off of their shoulders.

Take mental health seriously
You can support your employees’ mental health by encouraging a healthy work-life balance (especially if they are working from home) as well as offering tutorials, professional mentoring sessions and online webinars on mindfulness and effective stress management strategies. Be more lenient with your employees who are struggling with productivity due to mental fatigue and enforce healthy lifestyle habits.

Another way to protect your staff’s mental health is to give all your employees financial advice and education, even if they are not struggling financially at the moment. Let them know that you care for their livelihood and can support them with constructive guidance.

Take care of your staff’s physical health
Taking care of your employee’s physical health as well as their mental health will also relieve your employees’ stress levels and give them peace of mind when working with you. Allow your employees to work from home whenever possible and provide disinfectants like hand sanitiser and alcoholic wipes in your workspace to reinforce health precautions. Enforce social distancing procedures such as the 1.5m distance rule and strive to eliminate physical health risks related to your employees. It is vital that no employee comes to work if they are feeling sick.

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