Don’t stumble with new roster laws

by Cameron Edmond26 Feb 2014
1 January 2014 saw changes to all modern awards in Australia, heavily impacting changing the regular roster or ordinary hours of work.

Some employers may be surprised to find they now must consult with employees before changing these hours. To prevent any slip ups, here are the key points HR needs to know, as stated by The Fair Work Ombudsman:

You must consult an employee if they work a ‘regular roster’ or have ordinary hours of work and you are considering making a change to their working hours (times or days). Whether the change is temporary or permanent is irrelevant.

A ‘regular roster’ refers to a regular and systematic work arrangement – be it full-time, part-time or casual. This does not include employees working irregular, sporadic or unpredictable hours.

To begin consulting, you must give the employee and their representative (if they have one) information about the proposed change, then ask them their views on the impact it would have – consider family and caring responsibilities. You must then consider these views.

Additionally, employees have the option of being represented in these consultations, either by an elected employee or a union representative.

You must also consider any other ways the specific award restricts how an employer can change an employee’s rosters. You should also review employment contracts to ensure the changes are not in conflict with the terms.

These rules do not govern enterprise agreements, but similar regulations may apply.

Employers and HR are urged to visit if they have any further queries.

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