4 Hot Tips for HR from an Employment Lawyer in 2021

The post pandemic landscape has meant a number of challenges for Employers and HR.  As an Employment Lawyer human resources department ask for assistance on a range of matters.

Here are some quick wins for HR for 2021.

Tip 1 – Performance Management Training

Some companies have seen a spike in productivity and others have seen productivity limited.  It is important to understand the unique problems that have compounded poor performance management.

A number of cases have succeeded against Employers due to poor performance management by managers and supervisors.  This has led to success in:

  • Unfair dismissal claims
  • General protections claims
  • Discrimination disputes
  • Workers compensation claims

A focus on performance management training is the key to success. Here are some quick advice for employers on how to improve staff performance from an employment lawyer:

  • Ensure there is a performance management policy, if you don’t have one develop one it can be a really good kick starter for training
  • Understand the consequences. For managers and supervisors they need to understand what poor performance management can actually lead to – yes there is liability for the company but also personal liability (accessorial liability) – case studies are a good way to demonstrate this.
  • Consider external training potentially from a specialist employment law firm as they may be able to demonstrate the seriousness much more easily to managers and supervisors.

Tip 2 – Payroll review

Underpayment of wages is a significant risk for many organisations.  Big names such as Woolworths, Chatime and even a former MasterChef George Calombaris have felt the wrath of the Fair Work Ombudsman.  For a refresher check out our previous article here.

An automated payroll system can be so efficient for organisations. However, keep in mind the rules you input into the system will either be wrong or right.  Even if they are right – over time they could become stale and even be contrary to a legal obligation under a Modern Award.

In a previous article we set out three key tips that can help your business to avoid risks:

  • Review payroll system
  • Ensure payroll system reflects rules of awards
  • Compare HR system with payroll system

Tip 3 – Keep an eye on Immigration updates

More and more opportunities around utilising a migrant workforce and skilled employees to plug gaps in the business continue to cause HR headaches. 

  • General Skilled
  • 482
  • Subclass 186
  • Employer Sponsored
  • Partner Visa
  • Australian citizenship

Now is a good time to understand some of the opportunities that are coming in 2021 to migration laws. Getting in touch with a migration agent such as No Borders Migration is a good start. 

Tip 4 – Industrial Relations Law Changes

The Government is looking to make changes to IR laws.  At this point we understand there will be changes to:

  • Casual employee rules to combat previous cases around Workpac v Rossato and Workpac v Skene
  • Definition of a casual employee defined in the Fair Work Act
  • Enterprise bargaining changes which may lead to a “slackening” of the BOOT test and quicker turnarounds
  • Simplifying some awards including give key “distressed” industries opportunities to pay loaded rates
  • Allow project life pay deals which is designed to prevent industrial (strike) action on the aspect of increased wages

As these changes start to move from the Bill stage to legislation, human resources need to stay on top of these changes we suggest subscribing to our Top 25 Australian Law Blogs – NB Lawyers blog.  You can subscribe by clicking here.

In any event, we strongly suggest HR read widely on these issues and inform themselves.  These changes when they do come will require much preparation and potential advice going forward.

As the lawyers for employers, we can provide employers and HR with value added advice. Should you require any assistance please contact us to arrange an obligation free consultation on +61 (07) 3876 5111 to arrange a time to speak with one of our lawyers for an obligation free consultation.

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Written By

Jonathan Mamaril


NB Lawyers – Lawyers for Employers

[email protected]

+61 (07) 3876 5111

About the Author

Jonathan Mamaril leads a team of handpicked experts in the areas of employment law and commercial law at NB Lawyers – Lawyers for Employers who focus on educating clients to avoid headaches, provide advice on issues before they fester and when action needs to be taken and there is a problem mitigate risk and liability. With a core value of helping first and providing practical advice, Jonathan is a sought after advisor to a number of Employers and as a speaker for forums and seminars where his expertise is invaluable as a leader in this area as a lawyer for employers.