Workplace relations can trip even the best informed business up, with common misconceptions about wages, leave entitlements and terminations coming up again and again.

Workplace Relations is a minefield that employers are expected to navigate. This can become easier for those lucky enough to employ a dedicated Human Resources professional, but for the vast majority of smaller businesses, this is just an extra role for the business owner, their administration assistant, accountant or bookkeeper.
 
Rarely would anyone go out of their way to breach their workplace relations obligations knowingly, (Fair Work Commission fines can be very costly) but interpreting such regulations is fraught with danger – just ask any qualified Industrial Relations lawyer. Different people interpret regulations differently and this is where things can become messy.
 
The NSW Business Chamber’s Workplace Advice Line receives in excess of 20,000 phone calls every year from employers seeking advice, clarification or interpretation of complex workplace relations regulations or modern award rates. Amongst the topics raised are a growing number of misconceptions in the workplace relations space.
 
Some of these include:
 
Personal/Carer’s Leave (PCL) accumulates from year to year. Answer: PCL accrues from the date of commencement and any unused leave carries over into the following year.
 
I don’t have to provide notice of termination to an employee still under probation. Answer: Permanent employees are entitled to notice at any time during their employment, in accordance with their contract, award or the National Employment Standards. The only exception to this rule would be if the employee is terminated for serious misconduct.
 
Casuals are not entitled to Long Service Leave. Answer: Casuals are entitled to Long Service Leave in accordance with State legislation.
 
An employee can’t take annual leave in the first year. Answer: Annual Leave accrues from date of commencement and can be taken by agreement between the employer and employee at any time.
 
An employee cannot take paid Personal/Carer’s Leave in the first three months of employment. Answer: As above, yes they are entitled to.
 
You have to give an employee three warnings before moving to termination. Answer: There is no obligation to provide formal written warnings, however following a fair and reasonable process may assist the employer if the employee takes further action. 

The Chamber’s workplace relations experts can answer your questions on a range of issues. For help call the Workplace Advice Line on 13 29 59.


 
Rarely would anyone go out of their way to breach their workplace relations obligations knowingly, but interpreting such regulations is fraught with danger.