Employee Relations (ER), Industrial Relations (IR) or Workplace Relations (WR) all refer to the management of the relationship between an employer and its employees. Organisations with good employee relations practices aim to build a strong employment relationship by providing fair and consistent treatment to all employees and compliance with relevant industrial relations legislation. These practices aim to prevent and resolve problems arising from situations or issues at work and to build strong direct relationships between the employer and employees. In many circumstances, this also involves working with, and building relationships with the relevant employee representatives such as trade unions.
It is important for an organisation to obtain advice, knowledge, support and representation to manage their responsibilities under Federal and State employment laws.
Managing staff is not easy. Complex rules and procedures often regulate the way the employment relationship must be conducted. For example, there are specific rules and procedures covering the formulation of an employment contract, enterprise bargaining, modern awards, warnings and dismissals/terminations, redundancies, introduction of change to work practices and the organisation, risk assessments, individual flexibility arrangements and access to various types of leave (annual leave, parental leave, personal/carers leave/compassionate leave, long service leave) .
Employers need to provide a consistent, fair and equitable workplace for all employees and should consider putting guidelines, policies and procedures in place to support this. Some of these may include appointment to a position, prevention of bullying and harassment, anti-discrimination, social media standards, behavioural standards, drug and alcohol use, leave types and provisions, occupational health and safety, learning and development, termination of employment, consultation and more. The governing employment state or federal laws will dictate the level of documentation and guidance required for employees, including management.
shilo.consultants can provide employee relations and industrial relations advice and assist you to develop and implement the following:
- The development of an employee relations strategy and plan. This may include ER and IR frameworks; articulation of the desired workplace environment; an employee engagement strategy (including union relationships); roles and responsibilities required to manage ER; and ER processes.
- The provision of advice and the creation of ER policies, procedures and guidelines including performance indicators, metrics and targets.
- An understanding of significant conditions of employment, particularly those that differ from legislated standards and awards. This should also include collective/enterprise agreements.
- Advice regarding employee flexibility arrangements such as detail expected work patterns and practices e.g. hours of work, working from home.
- Understanding the different employment types i.e. number of full-time, part-time, casual, trainees, apprentices and their associated employment contracts and conditions of employment.
- Provision of support and advice regarding restructures and redundancy provisions including statutory entitlements, details of notice, severance payments, leave pay-out (e.g. pro-rata long service leave, sick leave) and outplacement/transition services and allowances.
- Case management to support the management of a range of employee issues including grievances, bullying and harassment and breaches to policies.
- Training and communication to employees in relation to ER policies and procedures.
- The establishment of ER reporting requirements.