HR Daily

This week's top stories in brief

31 July 2020 1:54pm

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A Fair Work Commission full bench decision to vary three health sector modern awards to include paid pandemic leave "has come completely out of left field", says Hall & Wilcox partner Fay Calderone. It imposes a financial and administrative burden on employers, and clear communication with employees and a foundation of trust "are the best approach to ensure that it's not abused".

Many of today's remote work arrangements should not be confused with "flexibility", but HR leaders have a small window in which to build support for flexible work, says FlexCareers co-founder Joel McInnes. "What we've got is a once-in-a-career opportunity to curate from all the new ways of working that we've been trying over the last 16 weeks."

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Understanding how Bpay's culture is evolving as a result of new work practices and preferences is a critical part of how the organisation is crafting its return-to-work plan, says GM of people and culture Lucy Lithgow. "One of the things that I wanted to avoid was a heavy compliance focus going back into the office, because that would undermine people's choices, the trust we have in them and their sense of empowerment."

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Employees' belief that they have "nothing to lose" by claiming unfair dismissal has led to an "exponential increase" in jurisdictional objections in the Fair Work Commission, Kingston Reid partner Christa Lenard says. Jurisdictional disputes create extra challenges for employers in an already-tense environment, as they have to spend more time and effort responding to claims that otherwise might not have occurred under normal circumstances.

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Practising self-reflection helps leaders overcome "autopilot" responses and make better decisions in today's volatile world of work, says Isabelle Phillips, UTS Business School researcher and lecturer and Mindfulness for the Global Village director. Successfully navigating changing circumstances requires an ability to evaluate what's happening in that moment without being tied to existing approaches, she adds.

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Disclosing the reasons for an employee's departure can be a tricky path to navigate, and if done poorly, can result in tension between managers and remaining staff, Workplace Conflict Resolution managing director Catherine Gillespie says. Clear communication can stop departing employees from setting up an "adversarial framework" against the employer.


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