Improving workplace relations – new guide assists HR

by 31 Aug 2009

Small-to-medium-sized companies could avoid industrial disputes if they follow a new guide set out by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).

The guide, designed to assist employers with limited workplace relations or human resource management experience, sets out 11 best practice tips to help them comply with the new Fair Work Act.

Establishing effective performance management, ensuring gender pay equity and providing family-friendly workplaces are among the topics covered in the guide.

“With this latest initiative, we have sought to explain in simple language the concepts of best practice in key areas which can promote harmonious, productive and co-operative workplaces,” said executive director Michael Campbell.

The FWO recently recovered $406,000 in back-pay for 512 underpaid workers at 426 Sunshine Coast businesses. This is just the latest in a string of recoveries the Fair Work Ombudsman has made since its inception in July.

According to the Ombudsman, this type of claim should be avoided if HR departments ensure they are adhering to the guidelines set out in the Fair Work Act.

“If employers follow best practice workplace consultation by developing and implementing effective consultation mechanisms they will encourage cooperation and the engagement of employees and management across the workplace,” said a Fair Work Ombudsman spokesperson. “If employers follow best practice by implementing a fair and balanced dispute resolution process, it will help them resolve disputes as amicably as possible."

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