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Are you one of those employers that still thinks human resources (HR) is all about recruitment, retention, or KPIs? 

Have you come to Australia from overseas and, quite logically, assumed that Australia’s HR practices must surely be based around common-sense and a ‘win-win’ philosophy?

Or perhaps you just think HR is all touchy-feely nonsense, and that you can just continue doing whatever it is you’ve always done when it comes to your employees’ terms and conditions of employment?

Think HR doesn’t really matter to you or your business? If so, think again.

Here are some rather startling facts about the state of ‘HR’ in Australia:

Fact 1: We have some of the most hopelessly complex employment laws in the developed world. No other country on Earth has gone out of its way to create more than 130 different so-called ‘Awards’ to regulate almost every conceivable aspect of day-to-day employee management. And remember, these Awards apply as a matter of law and not choice or preference.

Fact 2: Our employment laws are incredibly inflexible. All of the flexibilities that were gradually introduced by the Hawke/Keating Labor Government and the Howard Government were comprehensively dismantled by the Rudd/Gillard Fair Work laws.

Fact 3: In Australia, HR is not merely about recruitment, retention or any of those other traditional HR concepts. Here, it’s all about compliance, compliance, compliance

Here are just three examples of how HR compliance impacts you:

Have you hired anyone since 1 January 2010? If you have, and if you didn’t give them a copy of the Fair Work Information Statement, you’ve broken the law. This will be one of the first things checked by a Fair Work Inspector when they arrive announced at your business.

Have you ever cashed-out annual leave for an Award-covered employee without first confirming the Award expressly allows it? If so, there’s a very good chance you’ve breached the Award and broken the law.

Have you imposed a ‘standard 40 hour working week’? If you have, you’re in clear breach of one of the ten National Employment Standards (NES) imposed by the Fair Work Act 2009 and you risk fines, prosecution, and back-payment claims.

Make no mistake: HR compliance matters to you and your business.

By David Bates. Published: Thursday, April 07, 2016 on Switzer.

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