Is your organisation ready for 1 January 2014 and the implementation of the Fair Work Act 2009 (anti-bullying legislation)? Workplace bullying is heinous and injurious to health and wellbeing; this legislative amendment relating to anti-bullying measures will apply to employers and employees Australia-wide in less than two month’s time.
For all employers it is recommended that internal procedures are put in place to demonstrate and engage the organisational stance against workplace bullying including other behaviours such as use of social media (a potential route for bullying and vilification). There is still time to put in place robust policies and procedures with the aim of maintaining a workplace free from bullying as well as setting direction on the organisational position for internal and external use of social media by employees. It is also important to keep staff and contractors (who are covered by the legislation) up to date with in house briefings and training on ways to prevent and, in worst case scenario, internally report alleged bullying incidents. Note, as of January 2014 an employee who alleges that they are the victim of workplace bullying will have the right to address the matter directly with the Fair Work Commission, bypassing internal grievance procedures.
Compliance Essentials can assist your organisation with all compliance matters; contact us on 1300 602 880 or via our website www.complianceessentials.com.au
Looking for an electronic solution to manage and monitor your GRC functions? Compliance Essentials is a channel partner of 1FiCS – www.1fics.com
There are some organisational owners and managers who run shy from the word ‘compliance’ – the interpretation is often policing or threats. In fact implementing legal and regulatory compliance is an important part of developing and growing a business.
Compliance goes hand in hand with risk management (and governance hence GRC); these are good practice and part of the management tool kit to be used in business strategy, business growth, as a way of increased business efficiencies. Aiming for a compliant culture can afford protection from regulatory intervention, is a way of reducing general insurance premiums (ask your insurance broker) and an aid to protecting your organisation’s reputation.
In summary, its all about the bottom line!
How can Compliance Essentials assist your organisation? Please contact us for an initial chat on 1300 602 880 or get in touch via our website at www.complianceessentials.com.au
Where goods are imported into Australia and the overseas manufacturer has no representation in Australia Australian Consumer Law places the responsibilities of a manufacturer on the importer:
Section 7(1)(e) of the legislation states
” a person who imports goods into Australia if:
(i) the person is not the manufacturer of the goods; and
(ii) at the time of the importation, the manufacturer of the goods does not have a
place of business in Australia.”
In simple terms this means that an importer in such circumstances takes on the responsibilities of a manufacturer in relation to the provision of legally compliant products, supply of spare parts (where applicable) and accountability to consumers for product quality and product safety. Where products and product safety are non compliant regulatory penalties can be applicable.
Compliance Essentials can work with your organisation to manage and monitor compliance – don’t run the risk, contact us for an initial discussion on 1300 602 880 or via our website at www.complianceessentials.com.au
There may be close on six months until the changes to Privacy Legislation are effected (12 March 2014) nevertheless all organisations that fall within the scope of the legislation are encouraged to take this window of opportunity to review their operational activities in relation to upcoming requirements as well as reviewing and updating privacy policies and procedures.
The changes bring 13 APP (privacy principles) that will apply to both government and non-government organisations, in addition the Information Commissioner (www.oaic.gov.au) will have regulatory powers to investigate and penalise an organisation found to be non-compliant in terms of the legislation.
Watch out for APP 8 if your organisation sends personal information off-shore (note ‘cloud computing’) and the changes with regard to Credit Reporting. Further information on the reforms is available at www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/privacy-act/privacy-law-reform.
Does your organisation need a privacy health check? Contact Compliance Essentials for an initial (no charge) discussion.
Changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 in relation to keeping workplaces free from bullying are effective from 1 January 2014.
What are the implications for employers? The provisions of the amended legislation will allow a worker who suffers bullying in the workplace to take the matter directly to the Fair Work Commission bypassing their employer; the definition of ‘worker’ extends to ‘contractors’. If the worker is successful in their action the Fair Work Commission has the power to make any orders it deems appropriate to prevent the worker from being bullied in the workplace – this is other than reinstatement, payment of compensation or other monetary penalties.
Employers have time, prior to the commencement of these provisions, to review policies and procedures, setting out expected standards of behaviour in the workplace, ensuring robust procedures for dealing with bullying claims as well as engaging in staff training across their organisation. Policies and procedures need to include a firm line on use of social media which is also a potential avenue for bullying and vilification between members of the workforce.
Compliance Essentials is available to assist employers to prepare and be ready for this legislative change; contact us on 1300 602 880 or via www.complianceessentials.com.au.
Those not-for-profit organisations that are registered as charities with the ACNC have a continuing requirement to keep an eye on ongoing activities at the Commission.
As of 1 July 2013 registered charitable organisations are obligated to comply with the requirements of the five Governance Standards determined by the Commission. In summary the standards require:
#1 Determination of purpose and not for profit nature
#2 Accountability to members
#3 Compliance with Australian laws
#4 Suitability of responsible persons (e.g. members of Board of Governance/Committee of Management)
#5 Fulfilment of duties by responsible persons
Registered charities also need to consider the data required to complete the Annual Information Statement for 2013; note a recent announcement from ACNC indicates that there will be an option to complete the statement on line.
Does your registered charity need some assistance with governance and compliance? Be risk averse and contact us on 1300 602 880 or via our website www.complianceessentials.com.au
How do you know that your business complies with all the applicable legislative obligations? A further question, could your organisation sustain a large financial hit if proven guilty of a legislative breach?
If these questions give you food for thought why not take the next step in the thought process, read on and reflect on some of the benefits that maintaining a compliant culture can bring to your business activities:
- Helping to protect your organisation from regulatory investigations and penalties
- Reduced risk exposure
- Giving your business an increased competitive edge
- Protection of reputation
- Reduce staff turnover
- Potentially reduce general insurance premiums
- Increased efficiencies
- Adding value
You know it makes sense.
For a no obligation chat about your organisation’s needs call us on 1300 602 880 or contact us via our website www.complianceessentials.com.au/contact-us
With about two and a half months to go to the end of the financial year now is the time for employers to prepare for changes to superannuation obligations that will be effective on 1 July 2013.
What do the changes mean? In summary the major changes:
- Minimum superannuation guarantee contributions (SGC) increase to 9.25% for financial year 2013-2014 (further increases will apply up to financial year 2020).
- The concessional cap for superannuation contributions remains at $25,000 nothwithstand the increase in employer SGC contributions
- The age cap of 70 for SGC contributions is lifted
- SGC contributions are not required for an employee under 18 years of age and working less than 30 hours per week
- Additional information will be required in the content of employees’ payslips
Compliance Essentials is here to assist your business to fulfil its compliance obligations. Contact us on 1300 602 880 or via our website www.complianceessentials.com.au for a no obligation chat.
The Power of Written Agreements
Some businesses consider it a nuisance, or at best an unnecessary procedure, to commit agreements to a written document. Agreed, creating a written contract can take a bit of time, sometimes there will be a cost, however whilst a verbal contract is legally valid it does require equal interpretation by both parties of meaning and intention in order to avoid dispute.
Examples of agreements to consider implementing in a written form? Simplistically:
- Employment contracts
- Supplier contracts
- Customer agreements
- Contractor agreements
What are some of the benefits of written agreements?
- Signed mutual agreement between the parties
- Easily accessible information
- Reduced opportunity for dispute with regard to meaning and intention
- Reduced risk of misunderstanding
It pays to take the time and effort to produce a written document at the start of the engagement; a much more effective process than determining an answer in resolution to an undocumented business agreement.
Compliance Essentials can assist your business with internal process and systems; contact us www.complianceessentials.com.au
The anagram of ‘compliant’? Easy, the answer is ‘complaint’. That, however, is not the simple mistake.
The simple mistake is for an organisation to fail to consider being compliant until there is a complaint. Complaints in themselves can be costly and result in a need to reallocate core resources for problem resolution as well as potentially losing custom; when the complaint is from a regulator the outcomes can be much more onerous. The impact in terms of both tangible and intangible costs to remedy a proven compliance breach are far greater than committing financial and staff resources in endeavouring to make an organisation compliant in the first instance.
Reduce the risk of the occurrence of unwitting compliance breaches in your organisation by contacting Compliance Essentials on 1300 602 880 or via our website at www.complianceessentials.com.au