Weekly wrap: Unemployment up, Australia's most diverse workplaces, FWO targets retailers

by Cameron Edmond17 Jan 2014
Every week is a big week in HR. Here’s what you need to know in this week’s wrap-up:

Unemployment rate increase
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released its unemployment rate for last December. The seasonally adjusted rate increased by 0.1 percentage points, but the rounded estimate remained steady at 5.8%. The number of people employed decreased by 22,600 to 11,629,500 in December – due to a decrease in full-time employment, offset by an increase in part-time work.

Chris McDonald, Australian director for job search engine Indeed, shared his views on January’s job advertisement trends so far.

“Retail remains the most sought after on the Indeed site, reflecting the success of the retail industry over the holiday break … there is a growing demand for workers in Australian based hospitality and tourism. This industry, which is one of Australia’s largest employers, is likely to increase its demand for workers in the coming year.”
Submissions for the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) now open
Submissions to the third iteration of Pride In Diversity’s Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) are now open, seeking to recognise and showcase Australian organisations demonstrating workplace equality. Submissions will be judged on work undertaken in 2013 and close in March. Click here for more info and to get involved.
Fair Work Ombudsman targets 300 retailers
As part of the latest Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) pro-active education and compliance campaign, up to 300 retail shops across WA, SA and NT will be randomly audited.
Focusing on shopping centres and retail strips, inspectors will monitor the books of these retailers to ensure they are paying their staff their minimum entitlements, including hourly rates, penalty rates and overtime. Record-keeping and payslip obligations will also be monitored.

“We recognise that errors happen, so we have a flexible and fair approach to inadvertent mistakes and employers who are willing to co-operate with us to ensure they don’t occur in the future,” Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said. “This campaign provides a great opportunity for retailers to improve their understanding of workplace laws.”
‘Lifestyle workplaces’ on the rise
Despite meeting some criticisms last year, demand for futuristic, open workplaces continues to rise. Real estate firm CBRE have just completed their Sydney office space, based on the concept of activity based working. The office features open plan spaces, lounge areas, conferencing pods and traditional private desks.

“Australian businesses are seeing the value that comes from providing employees with multiple connectivity points and allowing them to have the ability to work from anywhere at any time in an environment that appeals to them,” said Ben Cottle, managing director of FDC Construction & Fitouts, the company who managed the project, said.


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