HR Daily

This week's top HR stories, in brief

16 October 2020 12:35pm

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Many issues put to the side during remote work are now rearing back up, and The Zalt Group director Zandy Fell says employers must consider interpersonal issues when assessing health and safety risks as part of their workplace return. She highlights two specific strategies that can help mitigate workplace conflict.

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"Radical flexibility" is one of three factors that will define employment relationships of the future as a result of the pandemic, Gartner chief of research Brian Kropp says. "The organisations that get this right will have a more engaged workforce, greater employee retention and better ability to attract the best talent."

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New research has named the employers that stepped up the most in 2020 to help employees 'give back' to the community, with the offer of paid volunteer leave a standout initiative. Also in this article, the pandemic's positive impacts on workplace wellbeing, and where employers can do more to support working parents.

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A major employer has been ordered to backpay $1.3 million to 48 former employees, in a case the judge noted had an "element of double dipping". Describing the employees' claims as "rapacious", the judge nonetheless said the importance of compliance with the Fair Work Act and relevant award by all employers made it appropriate to make the declarations sought and award compensation.

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Enterprise bargaining is reaching an impasse amid some "breathtaking" claims from unions as employers seek more flexibility. Herbert Smith Freehills partner Natalie Gaspar urges employers to do the groundwork ahead of upcoming negotiations, considering their short-, medium- and long-term business needs, and maintaining strict compliance with pre-approval requirements.

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Generally "urging" an employee to improve does not meet the standard required of an employer for a fair performance dismissal. The Fair Work Commission found the employer failed to identify areas of the employee's performance that were substandard, and didn't provide him with any training or support to improve, rendering his sacking unfair.

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Many employers have struggled to monitor performance and productivity during the pandemic but leading organisations are now prioritising 'value-creation' as their key focus. Ernst & Young's Stephen Koss says employers need a "better mix of measures" to assess employees' and leaders' performance against.


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