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Changes to the Fair Work Act

IR Update  Issue 08 March 2014

Changes to the Fair Work Act

As of 1 January 2014, changes to the following areas of the Fair Work Act will take effect:

. New anti-bullying measures – employees who believe they are being bullied as work are able to apply to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for an order (legal requirement) to stop the bullying.

. Changes to right of entry – these changes have an effect on the rights and powers of officials of organisations who have entry permits to enter businesses i.e. union officials

. New consultation terms – all awards and agreements will now have to include a term that requires employers to genuinely consult with their employees about changes to their regular roster and ordinary working hours

. New timeframes for unlawful termination applications – the timeframe has been reduced from 60 days to 21 days to align with the unfair dismissal and general protections dismissal claims.

. Updated superannuation terms – changes made include compulsory superannuation terms in modern awards (specifically regarding employer default funds and the need for them to meet the MySuper criteria)

Source: CCIQ – IR Alert January 2014

Is your business ready for the new anti-bullying laws

As mention previously, one of the major changes to the Fair Work Act involves the inclusion of anti-bullying laws. In the Fair Work Act there will now be an all-encompassing law that makes bullying conduct unlawful with a right to redress workplace bullying through the FWC.

While the laws have now commenced we are all in the dark on how this law will be implemented and the possible consequences to businesses.

The intention of the law is to enable a ‘worker’ to make an application to the FWC for orders to ‘stop bullying’ the applicant in the workplace by an individual or group of persons. In terms of orders that the commission can make, the employer of the worker will be party to any bullying claim, as will the alleged bullies, and will be subject to any orders made by the commission. The following information will provide some idea as to the process that may be followed:

. If a claim is made, the FWC must start to deal with an application within 14 days

. If bullying has occurred and there is a risk that it will continue, the FWC can make an order to prevent the worker from being bullied (what that looks like is unsure at present)

. The FWC cannot order the payment of a pecuniary amount. If the FWC makes an order and the employer does not comply with the order, the worker can apply to the Federal Court or Federal Circuit Court to enforce the order

. If the Federal Court or Federal Circuit Court determines that the employer has contravened the FWC order it can impose a civil penalty on the employer (maximum penalties on a corporation is $51k and $10k for an individual)

So, how can you prevent a bullying claim happening?

In an attempt to avoid such a claim it is important for businesses to have an effective workplace bullying policy in operation and all employees trained in relation to the policy. The policy needs to clearly outline the legal requirements regarding bullying in the workplace, the expected and inappropriate behaviours and the consequences of bullying within the workplace. It is also important to have a good conflict resolution or grievance procedure in place to ensure all employees are aware of how they can report any occurrence of bullying and how the business intends to handle such situations.

Please Note: If you receive any communication from the FWC regarding a bullying application, please contact Brismark immediately, so we can assist you with the process.

If you require assistance in developing your own workplace bullying procedure and associated training, please contact Lisa Dwyer on 3915 4222 or [email protected]

Source: HC Online, Cameron Edmond, 21 November 2013 & 30 January 2014




Brismark Briefing – March 2014

 

Adobe_PDF_file_icon_32x32   Brismark Briefing March 2014




2013 Audits in review

QA Update 14/07

WQA version 8 and SQF version 7.1 have been in effect for over 6 months now, therefore most companies that hold certification to either of these standards have been through at least one round of audits. A majority of these businesses have had successful outcomes, however they have seen an increased number of corrective actions raised.

The revised standards have ‘lifted the bar’ significantly with respect to the requirements for compliance. This has also seen some auditors struggle with the interpretation of the intent of the requirements of the relevant standards.

Here are a couple of pointers to ensure that your company gets the most from your next audit.

Tip One: Don’t forget you are paying for the audit service and as such you should expect to get value for money. This is not just an exercise in attaining certification, the audit outcome and feedback provided should assist in the continual development and improvement of your quality management system.

Tip Two: The audit process should provide a comprehensive review of your operational compliance to the relevant standard/s and identify areas or opportunities for improvement. Auditors should audit for ‘evidence of compliance’ NOT ‘evidence of noncompliance’.

Tip Three: Auditors should also have an ability to understand the risk category of your business and be able to make assessments accordingly. (A number of companies have had bad audit experiences when high risk certified auditors have audited low risk businesses as they are not always able to realign with the risk category.)

Tip Four: You have the right to request that a specific auditor not be assigned to your facility.

Tip Five: You are able to appeal or object to any CAR raised at audit if you feel it is unjustified or incorrectly raised or raised against the wrong standard. This usually involves contacting the technical reviewer for the particular certification body the auditor represents and providing the reviewer with evidence to justify your objection. (As an example if you receive a CAR for traceability because you have completed the exercise but not conducted a mass balance, if this is raised under WQA version 8 then the CAR is valid as mass balance is a specific requirement of that standard, if the CAR is raised under SQF then the CAR is invalid as SQF does not have a specific requirement to mass balance your traceability exercises and / or mock recalls.)

CONSUMER LEVEL RECALLS IN AUSTRALIA FOR DEC 2013

  • 09/12/13 Sesame paste – Labelling error undeclared allergen ( Peanut)
  • 05/12/13 Sakata Paws Original 6 Pack Multipack – Undeclared allergen (Milk)
  • 04/12/13 Old El Paso – Hot Chunky Tomato Salsa 300g – foreign objects (Glass)
  • 03/12/13 Vodka Cruiser Sugar Free Pomegranate & Guava – Non compliant labelling (does not include mandatory warning statement for phenylalanine)

AUSTRALIAN FOOD POISONING OUTBREAKS 2013

Issue 7 Brismark QA March 2014December 2012 / January 2013

Jindi soft cheese – A Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to soft cheeses sickened 18 people in Australia; two victims died and one woman miscarried as a result of infection with the bacteria.

May 2013

Canberra – At least 100 people affected by Canberra’s worst food poisoning outbreak, with 15 people admitted to hospital. The people became ill with salmonella poisoning after eating at the Copa Brazilian Churrasco restaurant in Dickson. Dozens of its customers presented to hospital with symptoms of salmonella poisoning, including diarrhoea, stomach cramps and fever. The ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Paul Kelly confirmed that eggs used in a mayonnaise served at the Copa Brazilian Churrasco restaurant were the cause of the outbreak.

November 2013

Brisbane – Queensland health authorities investigated an outbreak of food poisoning. Fresh mayonnaise made with raw eggs were suspected to be the culprit.

Over 100 people have been hospitalised.

STOP POTENTIAL FOOD POISONING

One of the reasons that food poisoning may be increasing in western countries is that we no longer eat the traditional meat and three cooked vegetables but are consuming healthier food such as salads and fruit. Raw vegetables and fruit are great for our health but they can be contaminated from the soil they are grown in or by people handling them before purchase.
Everyone in the supply chain has a responsibility to ensure that their actions do not contribute to a food poisoning outbreak.


 

Need Brismark’s Help For more information on Brismark QA service contact Lisa Dwyer on 3915 4222 or email [email protected]




Privacy Law Changes

PRINCIPAL 14/01

If your business handles customer information, you are likely to be required to update your policy, procedures and systems to comply with a number of major changes to the Privacy Act 1998 (Cth) which came into effect on March 12. Otherwise you may face costly penalties of up to $340,000 for individuals or up to $1.7 million for corporations for serious or repeated breaches of the new privacy laws.

The 13 new Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) will replace the existing National Privacy Principles (NPPs) that currently apply to businesses. The changes include a set of new, harmonised, privacy principles that will regulate the handling of personal information by both the public and private sector.

Two key reforms include:

  • A stand alone direct marketing principle (APP 7). Generally, businesses may only use or disclose personal information for direct marketing purposes where the individual has either consented to their personal information being used for direct marketing, or has a reasonable expectation that their personal information will be used for this purpose, and conditions relating to opt-out mechanisms are met.
  • Cross-border disclosure of personal information (APP 8). If your business discloses personal information to an overseas recipient, you are required to “take such steps as are reasonable in the circumstances to ensure that the overseas recipient does not breach the APPs in relation to the information”. In certain circumstances, you may be deemed liable for a breach of the APPs by the overseas recipient. This is particularly relevant if your business discloses or transfers information overseas for the purposes of, for example, outsourcing or cloud computing.

What does this mean for your business?

  • Conduct an audit of how your business collects, stores, uses and discloses personal information.
  • Review and update your business’s privacy policy, procedures and systems to comply with the 13 APPs, particularly the privacy policy on your business website and privacy statements. If necessary, provide your customers with your updated privacy policy.
  • Train your staff about the new privacy laws and how to deal with complaints about your privacy policy to ensure compliance with the APPs.

Need Help?
If sufficient interest is shown, Brismark will host a “Privacy Law Reforms” seminar/workshop to address how businesses can ensure their compliance with the new regime in order to avoid the penalties for non-compliance introduced by the Act.