Season's Greetings (29/2015)

 

 

With Christmas nearly upon us, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for an enjoyable 2015 and we wish you a safe and happy break.
 
It is also a good time to remind Local Governments of the importance of setting some guidelines for Christmas party functions. This is to ensure the festivities are enjoyed by all and that Local Governments minimise the risk of discrimination, harassment or other policy and legislative breaches.
 
It would be beneficial for Local Governments to remind employees about the expectations and acceptable standards of behaviour at the Christmas party, end of year celebrations and gatherings. Further, Local Governments may remind employees that the code of conduct continues to apply at work functions, along with other workplace policies.
 
Christmas shutdown
 
We would like to advise that the WALGA office will shut from Friday, 25 December 2015 and will reopen on Monday, 4 January 2016.
 
If you require advice about an urgent industrial or employee matter during the shutdown, please contact Davina Hunter on 0429 592 974.
 
We look forward to working with you in 2016.
 
If you have any questions about this alert, please contact a member of the WALGA Employee Relations team on (08) 9213 2092 or email WALGA Employee Relations.

Remuneration Survey (28/2015)

 

This is the time of year that WALGA Employee Relations usually starts to collect data to produce the Local Government Remuneration Survey Report….well not this year!

After 22 years of producing a Remuneration Survey Report, WALGA has decided that it is time for a review. We are still committed to producing the Remuneration Survey Report, but are looking to broaden the scope of the Report and the format in which we present the data. 

That means we won’t be asking for you to provide any remuneration data just yet. Instead, WALGA will be consulting with you in the New Year on what you would like to see in the Report and how you would like the information to be presented.

A further Alert will be sent out in due course to update you on the progress.
 
If you have any questions please contact a member of the WALGA Employee Relations team on (08) 9213 2092 or email WALGA Employee Relations.

2016 Public Holiday Information Sheet (27/2015)

 

Please find links below to download the 2016 Public Holiday Information Sheet prepared by WALGA Employee Relations.

The Information Sheet contains information on Public Holidays that affect Local Governments in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

WA 2016 Public Holiday Information Sheet download
NT 2016 Public Holiday Information Sheet download

A printed copy of the Public Holiday Information Sheet will also be sent out next week by mail and addressed to payroll at your Local Government.

If you have any questions please contact a member of the WALGA Employee Relations team on (08) 9213 2092.

2015 NATIONAL LOCAL GOVERNMENT HUMAN RESOURCES CONFERENCE (25/2015)

 

Extension to Early Bird Registrations

Early Bird Registrations for the 2015 National Local Government Human Resources Conference have been extended to Friday 9 October. The Conference is being held from 11-13 November 2015 in Melbourne.

This biennial conference will bring together human resource practitioners and Local Government managers from across Australia to hear and learn about a range of contemporary and future issues relevant to the management of human resources and the Local Government Sector.

Key topics of the program will include:

  • the art and science of leading change
  • enabling women leaders
  • social outcomes
  • driving high performance
  • technology and the modern workplace
  • cultural diversity in the workplace
  • conflict resolution
  • inspiring a leadership culture.


Who should attend?

This conference program is designed for HR professionals in the Local Government sector  and  directors, managers and officers involved with human resources, workforce, people, culture, leadership, training, learning, development, risk, performance, productivity, administration and payroll.

Event details: 

When: Wednesday, 11 November 11:00AM - Friday, 13 November 12:00PM

Where: Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, 25 Collins Street, Melbourne, 3000

RSVP: Monday, 2 November

Cost: Conference - Member: $990.00 (inc. GST)* Early Bird price until 9 October.

To register please click here.

For the Conference program please click here.

For further Conference details please download the flyer here.

Proposed important new annual leave provisions in the LGIA - Update (24/2015)

 

As reported in an earlier Employee Relations Alert (19/2015) the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) previously handed down a decision on the common issue of annual leave as part of the 4 yearly review of modern awards. The decision invited feedback from interested parties on proposed new provisions to be inserted into the Local Government Industry Award 2010 (LGIA).

After considering the submissions of interested parties, the FWC Full Bench made a further decision on 15 September 2015 to clarify proposed common annual leave clauses. This decision does not finalise the annual leave common issues as the FWC will now proceed to consider inserting the model terms into modern awards in a further hearing in late November.

WALGA Employee Relations will send out a further alert once the matter has been heard by the Full Bench and directions are given to when these changes will come in to operation.

Cashing out Annual Leave – New Model Term – Attachment 1

There has been no change to the model term released by the FWC in the previous decision in June.

The proposed cashing out provisions will provide the following safeguards:

  • a maximum of two weeks’ paid annual leave can be cashed out in any 12 month period.
  • specific requirements relating to record keeping and the content of any agreement relating to cashing out accrued annual leave;
  • if the employee is under 18 years of age, the agreement to cash out leave must be signed by the employee’s parent or guardian;
  • notes are to be inserted at the end of the provisions drawing attention to the general protections in Part 3-1 of the Fair Work Act 2009 against undue employer influence and misrepresentation in relation to rights under the clause.
  • the employee must be paid at least the full amount that would have been payable to the employee had the employee taken the leave at the time that it is cashed out:
  • and paid annual leave must not be cashed out if the cashing out would result in the employee’s remaining accrued entitlement to paid annual leave being less than four weeks.

Download Attachment 1
 

Excessive Annual Leave Accruals – New Model Term – Attachment 2

There have been some amendments to the model term released by the FWC in the previous decision in June.

The proposed excessive annual leave accrual provisions outline the following:

An employer will be obligated to meet with an employee and discuss steps to be taken to reduce or eliminate excess leave prior to directing employees to take leave. If agreement cannot be reached, after following these steps, the employer may give a written direction to the employee to take a period or periods of paid annual leave.

The provisional model term incorporates the employer’s right to direct an employee to take their excessive annual leave, but also makes provision for the circumstance where an employee accrues excessive paid annual leave but no employer direction is made. The provisional model term also provides an avenue for an employee to exercise control over the time at which their leave is to be taken.

Download Attachment 2

Annual Leave in Advance – New Model Term – Attachment 3

The June 2015 decision saw the Full Bench decide on a model clause outlining employees’ ability to take annual leave in advance.

The ability for an employer and employee to agree to annual leave in advance is already provided for in subclause 25.6 of the LGIA. However, the Full Bench was persuaded that a model term be set out which specifies that any agreement for an employee to take annual leave in advance operates in a mutually beneficial manner and is appropriate. The model term also obliges that an employer keep such agreements as an employee record.

Download Attachment 3

Other Annual Leave common issue provisions

There were other decisions made with respect to purchased leave, payment of annual leave on termination and electronic fund transfer payment of annual leave that currently are not directly relevant to the LGIA.

Next Steps

Interested parties will be provided with an opportunity to make submissions and adduce evidence in relation to whether the various model terms contained in the decision should now be inserted into particular modern awards. Directions in relation to the next phase of these proceedings will be issued shortly. 

For further information email WALGA Employee Relations or call 9213 2014.

R U OK? Day ! Thursday 10 September 2015 (23/2015)

 

R U OK? Day is a national day of action to remind everyone of the importance of asking family, friends and colleagues “are you ok?” Regular face-to-face conversations help us to build strong relationships with family and friends, and this helps people cope better with life’s ups and downs.

By creating a workplace where employees feel comfortable enough to have open conversations, we create a culture where people feel confident asking and answering important questions, including “are you ok?”



 

This year R U OK? Day also coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day with the theme being “Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives.” This day is about speaking up to reduce the stigma around talking about suicide prevention safely, standing up to make a positive impact on our mental health and wellbeing and building a resilient community to prevent suicide.


The R U OK? Day website has a number of resources that you can use in your workplace including posters, and conversation starters, among other things.

We encourage your Local Government to embrace R U OK? Day this year, using it as a day to check in with your colleagues and to have the important conversations, where required.

 
For further information email WALGA Employee Relations or call 9213 2092.

Productivity Commission Draft Report Released (22/2015)

 

The Productivity Commission has released a draft report into Australia’s workplace relations framework.   The draft report undertakes an assessment of potential reforms to Australia's workplace relations framework, considering current laws, institutions and practices.  If implemented, some of the proposed reforms would significantly impact upon the industrial landscape of Australia.  
 
Interested parties are being invited to provide written submissions to the Productivity Commission, preferably in electronic format, by 18 September 2015. The final report will be prepared after further submissions have been received and public hearings have been held, and will be forwarded to the Australian Government by the end of November 2015.  
 
Further information on how to provide a submission is included on the inquiry website, available here.
 
Key points of the report can be read here and a copy of the full report can be found here
 
We would request that if your Local Government elects to make a submission that you also please send us a copy so we can be informed of any issues.

For further information email WALGA Employee Relations or call 9213 2092.

2015 WALGA HR Seminar Program and Speaker Bios (21/2015)

 

As you may already be aware, the WALGA HR Seminar is on Friday, 7 August at the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre. We are excited to announce the program for the day, as well as some of the fantastic speakers that will be delivering the program. Please see the program outlined below and the bios of all of the speakers here.
 

Don't forget, registrations close on Friday, 24 July 2015! Visit www.walga.asn.au to register.  


HR SEMINAR PROGRAM

9:00am – 9:15am       Introduction
 
9.15am– 10:15am      Fair Work Ombudsman

Andrew Jones, Assistant Director, Fair Work Ombudsman
 

The Fair Work Ombudsman will provide an overview of its role and identify trends in employment. The presentation will conclude by examining common errors made by employers including matters relating to overpayment of wages and permitted deductions.

                       
10:15am – 10:45am    Morning Tea
 
10:45am – 11:00am    Sector Update
 
11:00am – 12:15pm    Fitness for Work Panel – Part One

Michelle Butler, Regional Manager, Recovre
Gray Porter, Principal, Civic Legal
Candy Choo, Manager Workforce Risk Services, Local Government Insurance Services
Gary Hearne, Team Leader, Local Government Insurance Services
Dr Joel Silbert, Managing Director, OSH Group
Dr Peter McCarthy, Consultant Psychiatrist, OSH Group
 

This interactive session aims to guide participants through three practical ‘fitness for work’ scenarios. In scenario one, participants will be invited to discuss with the panel the everyday challenges associated with managing an ageing workforce. Scenario two will focus on dealing with drug use in the workplace and scenario three will explore best practice approaches to dealing with mental health issues affecting employee performance.
 
A panel of practitioners will offer their professional perspective on the scenarios addressing key considerations relating to workplace health and safety, workers’ compensation, human resources, industrial relations and employment law.

 
12.15pm – 1.00pm     Lunch
 
1.00pm – 2:00 pm      Fitness for Work Panel – Part Two
 
2:00pm – 3:00pm       Restructure Process

Carrie Puzzar, Manager Human Resources & Organisational Development, City of Greater Geraldton  
 

Leading an organisation through a restructure is one of the toughest challenges facing human resources professionals. This presentation examines some of the common problems faced by organisations when they undertake an organisational restructure and are required to implement redundancy and redeployment programs. Participants will gain valuable insights into overcoming the challenges posed by an organisational restructure from an industry leader and experienced human resources professional.

 
3.00pm – 3.15pm       Afternoon Tea
 
3.15pm – 4.15pm       Embedding a Positive Culture After a Period of Change

Anthony Vuleta, Chief Executive Officer, Town of Victoria Park
 

Organisational change is a constant feature of the modern workplace. This presentation aims to provide leaders with a framework and tools to build and maintain a cohesive working environment after a period of change.

 
4.15pm                        Seminar Close and Networking Refreshments


We look forward to seeing you on the day.

Important decision on accruing annual leave whilst on workers compensation (20/2015)

 

A recent appeal decision of the full bench of the Federal Court has confirmed that a former employee was entitled to accrue annual leave whilst they absent from the workplace on a period of workers’ compensation.

The National Employment Standards (NES) provide that an employee is not entitled to accrue leave when they are absent from work and in receipt of workers’ compensation, unless the accrual of leave is permitted by a compensation law (typically a State or Territory Workers’ Compensation Act). The relevant NES provision is contained in Section 130 of the Fair Work Act 2009.

In the initial decision, a single member of the Federal Circuit Court accepted the employer’s submission that section 49 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW) does not create a right to accrue annual leave. However, the decision ultimately held  that section 49 of this Act does permit the accrual of annual leave when an employee is absent from work and in receipt of workers’ compensation payments.
 
The employer appealed the decision made in the first instance arguing that the taking or accruing leave was not expressly permitted by section 49 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW) and on that basis the employee was not entitled to accrue annual leave by virtue of the operation of the NES.

The employer’s appeal was rejected unanimously by the full bench of the Federal Court (the Court). The Court examined a similar provision in the previous Workplace Relation Act 1996 under which  an employee was entitled to accrue annual leave unless doing so was prohibited by a State or Territory law. The Court found that there was no evidence that the existing NES provision intended to depart from the law established under the Workplace Relation Act 1996.  In rejecting the employer’s appeal, the Court found that the words ‘permitted by’ should be construed to mean ‘not prevented, prohibited or restrained’. 
                
The decision appears likely to have wide reaching implications for employers in Western Australia, including in the Local Government sector. This is because provisions in the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (WA) regarding the treatment of annual leave for an employee receiving workers’ compensation are substantially similar to those contained in section 49 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW).

This case dealt specifically with annual leave entitlements, however, it appears highly likely that the decision could also enable an employee to accrue personal/carer’s leave when they are absent from work and in receipt of workers’ compensation payments.

WALGA Employee Relations has been in contact with LGIS Workcare who are aware of this decision and are assessing the potential impact for Local Governments from a workers compensation perspective.

The decision can be viewed here:

Anglican Care v NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association [2015] FCAFC 81 (5 June 2015)

For further information email WALGA Employee Relations or call 9213 2092.

Proposed important new annual leave provisions in the LGIA (19/2015)

 

The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission recently handed down a decision on the common issue of annual leave as part of the 4 yearly review of modern awards. The decision has invited feedback from interested parties on proposed new provisions to be inserted into the Local Government Industry Award 2010 (LGIA).
 
Cashing out of annual leave
 
The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has made a preliminary decision to include a provision allowing for the cashing out of annual leave in the LGIA.
 
The cashing out provisions will provide the following safeguards:

  • a maximum of two weeks’ paid annual leave can be cashed out in any 12 month period.
  • specific requirements relating to record keeping and the content of any agreement relating to cashing out accrued annual leave;
  • if the employee is under 18 years of age, the agreement to cash out leave must be signed by the employee’s parent or guardian; and
  • notes are to be inserted at the end of the provisions drawing attention to the general protections in Part 3-1 of the Fair Work Act 2009 against undue employer influence and misrepresentation in relation to rights under the clause.

WALGA made submissions on behalf of the Local Government sector in Western Australia and the Northern Territory seeking inclusion of provisions that would allow annual leave to be cashed out in the LGIA. These submissions were made in conjunction with the other State and Territory Local Government Associations in April 2014.
 
Granting annual leave in advance
 
The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has also made a preliminary decision to include a provision allowing employers to grant annual leave in advance of it accruing and deduct amounts for any leave yet to accrue from termination payments in the LGIA. However, an employer can only deduct amounts for any leave yet to accrue from termination payments where the employee and employer have agreed to taking leave in advance.
 
Directing an employee with excessive accrued annual leave
 
The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has also made a preliminary decision to include a provision that allows employers the power to direct an employee to take ‘excessive’ annual leave accruals.
 
Interested parties are required to make written submissions in the Fair Work Commission by 4.00 pm on Monday 13 July with respect to the wording of the proposed provisions and whether the proposed provisions should be included in all modern awards (including the LGIA).
 
WALGA Employee Relations is seeking feedback from the sector with respect to the wording of the proposed provisions and whether the proposed provisions should be included in the LGIA. We will then consider making a written submission on behalf of the Local Government sector. Please provide any feedback by 5:00pm on Thursday, 9 July.
 
The preliminary view of WALGA Employee Relations is that these are welcome amendments to the extent that they allow for more flexibility for a Local Government employer to agree on how an employee may utilise their annual leave accruals.
 
Please note that these provisions would only apply to employees who are covered by the LGIA or by an enterprise agreement where the terms of the LGIA are incorporated into that enterprise agreement.

Proposed provisions

The proposed provision that allows employers the power to direct an employee to take ‘excessive’ annual leave accruals can be found here.

The proposed provisions relating to cashing out of annual leave and granting annual leave in advance have been released as draft determinations and can be viewed here.

The original Full Bench decision is available here.

Please email WALGA Employee Relations or call (08) 9213 2014 if you have any feedback or questions.

Update: Human Resources Seminar for Local Government (16/2015)

 

Update: New Registration Link and HR Seminar Flyer

Date: Friday, 7 August 2015
Venue: Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre
Time: Arrival 8.30am for 9.00am start – 4.15pm
Cost: $250 (incl GST)
Register here or click here to view the flyer.

Registration closes Friday, 24 July.
 
This full day Seminar offers a practical guide to contemporary and future human resource issues within the Local Government sector. Click here to view the flyer.
 
The following presentations will be held at the Seminar:
 
Fair Work Ombudsman
 

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), will provide an overview of its role and identify trends in employment. The presentation will conclude by examining common errors made by employers and permitted deductions including matters relating to overpayment of wages.

 
Fitness for work panel (age, drugs and mental health)
 

This interactive session aims to guide participants through three practical ‘fitness for work’ scenarios. In scenario one, participants will be invited to discuss with the panel the everyday challenges associated with managing an ageing workforce. Scenario two will focus on dealing with drug use in the workplace and scenario three will explore best practice approaches to dealing with mental health issues affecting employee performance.
 
A panel of practitioners will offer their professional perspective on the scenarios addressing key considerations relating to workplace health and safety, workers compensation, human resources, industrial relations and employment law.

 
Restructure process
 
Leading an organisation through a restructure is one of the toughest challenges facing human resources professionals. This presentation examines some of the common problems faced by organisations when they undertake an organisational restructure and are required to implement redundancy and redeployment programs. Participants will gain valuable insights into overcoming the challenges posed by an organisational restructure from an industry leader and experienced human resources professional. 
 
Embedding a positive culture after a period of change
 
Organisational change is a constant feature of the modern workplace. This presentation aims to provide leaders with a framework and tools to build and maintain a cohesive working environment after a period of change.

To register please click here.

Reminder: Deadline for Feedback on the 4 Year LGIA Review Due 12 June 2015 (15/2015)

 

Reminder: Feedback required on the 4 Year Review of the Local Government Industry Award 2010 due by 12 June 2015.

The Local Government Industry Award 2010 (LGIA) is currently being reviewed by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in accordance with the statutory requirement to conduct a review of all modern awards every 4 years.  

The Australian Services Union (ASU) and United Services Union NSW (USU) have made submissions to significantly change the LGIA. If accepted, the proposed changes may result in less flexibility and increased costs for Local Governments.  
 
The FWC has requested that WALGA in conjunction with the other State and Territory Local Government Associations (LGAs) enter into discussions with the ASU and USU to assess whether common ground can be reached regarding changes to the LGIA.

WALGA is currently advocating on behalf of the Local Government sector in the 4 year review of the LGIA, in partnership with LGANT and the other Local Government Associations. As part of this review, the ASU has put forward submissions to change the LGIA (a matrix of proposed changes is contained within Attachment One). The ASU has indicated that they will be willing to withdraw the majority of these claims, if the LGAs agree to insert clauses into the LGIA about the following issues:

  •  Dispute Resolution Training Leave (Attachment Two)
  • Overtime at double-time from midday Saturday

If the LGAs do not agree to a joint position with the ASU on these clauses, it is likely that WALGA will go to arbitration on the matter before the Fair Work Commission.
 
WALGA are seeking your feedback on the following options:
 
Option One:
Agree to a joint position with the ASU to include clauses about dispute resolution training leave (Attachment two) and overtime at double time from midday Saturday into the LGIA.

Option Two:
Propose an alternate dispute resolution training leave clause amended by the LGAs (Attachment Three) with a view to agreeing a joint position with the ASU covering the matters outlined in option one.
 
Option Three:
Oppose a joint position with the ASU and Local Government Associations and have the Fair Work Commission arbitrate on the entire ASU submission.

Attachments can also be found on the links below:

The deadline for providing feedback is fast approaching so please advise of your Local Government‘s preferred option via email to employeerelations@walga.asn.au by Friday, 12 June.

Thank you to those who have taken the time to respond to the request for feedback.
 
For further information email WALGA Employee Relations

Human Resources Seminar for Local Government (14/2015)

 

Date: Friday, 7 August 2015
Venue: Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre
Time: Arrival 8.45am for 9.00am start – 4.15pm
Cost: $250 (incl GST)

Registration closes Friday, 24 July.
 
This full day Seminar offers a practical guide to contemporary and future human resource issues within the Local Government sector.
 
The following presentations will be held at the Seminar:
 
Fair Work Ombudsman
 

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), will provide an overview of its role and identify trends in employment. The presentation will conclude by examining common errors made by employers and permitted deductions including matters relating to overpayment of wages.

 
Fitness for work panel (age, drugs and mental health)
 

This interactive session aims to guide participants through three practical ‘fitness for work’ scenarios. In scenario one, participants will be invited to discuss with the panel the everyday challenges associated with managing an ageing workforce. Scenario two will focus on dealing with drug use in the workplace and scenario three will explore best practice approaches to dealing with mental health issues affecting employee performance.
 
A panel of practitioners will offer their professional perspective on the scenarios addressing key considerations relating to workplace health and safety, workers compensation, human resources, industrial relations and employment law.

 
Restructure process
 
Leading an organisation through a restructure is one of the toughest challenges facing human resources professionals. This presentation examines some of the common problems faced by organisations when they undertake an organisational restructure and are required to implement redundancy and redeployment programs. Participants will gain valuable insights into overcoming the challenges posed by an organisational restructure from an industry leader and experienced human resources professional. 
 
Embedding a positive culture after a period of change
 
Organisational change is a constant feature of the modern workplace. This presentation aims to provide leaders with a framework and tools to build and maintain a cohesive working environment after a period of change.

To register please click here

2015 Fair Work Commission Wage Increase (12/2015)

 

2015 Fair Work Commission Wage Increase

The Fair Work Commission's Minimum Wage Panel has increased award minimum rates of pay by 2.5%, lifting the national minimum wage by $16.00 per week. This will come into operation on 1 July 2015.

The decision lifts the federal weekly minimum wage to $656.90 ($17.29 an hour).

This increase will need to be provided by employers who apply the minimum rates of the Local Government Industry Award 2010 or other federal modern awards and by those employers who have federal enterprise agreements that incorporate increases to award rates of pay.

Employers who have federal enterprise agreements that have set increases to pay rates will not need to apply this increase.

WALGA Employee Relations will shortly release a revised Local Government Industry Award wage schedule to subscribers.

For more information please email WALGA Employee Relations or call 9213 2092.

Feedback Required - Local Government Industry Award 2010 (10/2015)

 

The Local Government Industry Award 2010 (LGIA) is currently being reviewed by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in accordance with the statutory requirement to conduct a review of all modern awards every 4 years.  

The Australian Services Union (ASU) and United Services Union NSW (USU) have made submissions to significantly change the LGIA. If accepted, the proposed changes may result in less flexibility and increased costs for Local Governments.  
 
The FWC has requested that WALGA in conjunction with the other State and Territory Local Government Associations (LGAs) enter into discussions with the ASU and USU to assess whether common ground can be reached regarding changes to the LGIA.

WALGA is currently advocating on behalf of the Local Government sector in the 4 year review of the LGIA, in partnership with LGANT and the other Local Government Associations. As part of this review, the ASU has put forward submissions to change the LGIA (a matrix of proposed changes is contained within Attachment One). The ASU has indicated that they will be willing to withdraw the majority of these claims, if the LGAs agree to insert clauses into the LGIA about the following issues:

  • Dispute Resolution Training Leave (Attachment Two)
  • Overtime at double-time from midday Saturday

If the LGAs do not agree to a joint position with the ASU on these clauses, it is likely that WALGA will go to arbitration on the matter before the Fair Work Commission.
 
WALGA are seeking your feedback on the following options:
 
Option One:
Agree to a joint position with the ASU to include clauses about dispute resolution training leave (Attachment two) and overtime at double time from midday Saturday into the LGIA.

Option Two:
Propose an alternate dispute resolution training leave clause amended by the LGAs (Attachment Three) with a view to agreeing a joint position with the ASU covering the matters outlined in option one.
 
Option Three:
Oppose a joint position with the ASU and Local Government Associations and have the Fair Work Commission arbitrate on the entire ASU submission.

Attachments can also be found on the links below:

Please advise of your Local Government‘s preferred option via email to employeerelations@walga.asn.au by Friday, 12 June.
 
For further information email WALGA Employee Relations or call 9213 2092.

Proactive approaches to salary increases (9/2015)

 

A noticeable recent trend in the sector is that a number of Local Governments have undertaken, or are undertaking, reviews of their organisational structure that has led to positions being made redundant. This trend is not surprising given the pressures on Local Governments to continue to deliver services in light of increasing financial pressures.
 
WALGA Employee Relations has been monitoring examples of how organisations outside of the Local Government sector have proactively tackled the problem of unsustainable employee wages and benefits. These particular examples deal with measures that have been negotiated through enterprise agreements.
 
No guaranteed pay rises
 
Mount Isa Mines (MIM) has recently negotiated an enterprise agreement with its employees that essentially gives MIM the discretion as to whether employees are provided with annual pay increases. This is a significant departure from the normal approach in enterprise agreements where the quantum of the annual pay increase is normally the most hotly contested issue.

The relevant clause in the MIM enterprise agreement provides for pay increases at the company's discretion, based on its performance, market conditions, industry salary movements generally and other factors.

The agreement does provide for annual performance payments to employees of $3000 for meeting most performance expectations, $4000 for a successful contribution and $5000 for outstanding performance.

MIM did commit in the enterprise agreement to the majority of employees being assessed at ‘successful contribution’ or higher for each annual assessment period in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The MIM enterprise agreement is available at the following link:
https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/documents/agreements/fwa/AE413494.pdf

Discounted pay rates for new employees

A recent enterprise agreement for Woolworths proposed to cut the pay of new employees.
The agreement to cover Woolworths' main distribution centre in Brisbane sought to cut the hourly pay for certain workers hired after October 24 2014 from $24.51 to $22 and a provision rendered the rate ‘frozen’ at $22 until 2018.

Pay rates for existing workers were proposed to increase by 4% from October 2014, followed by annual increases of 3.8% in October 2015 and October 2016 and an annual increase of 3.6% in October 2017. There were also proposed increases to other employment conditions for existing workers including shift and holiday loadings.

Freezing pay rates

Coca-Cola Amatil had an enterprise agreement approved in September 2014 which included a pay freeze for all employees in 2015 before an increase of about 2% in 2016.

The Coca-Cola Amatil agreement also considerably reduced the base pay of new employees hired after a nominated date.

The Coca-Cola Amatil enterprise agreement is available at the following link:
https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/documents/agreements/fwa/AE409973.pdf

Local Government Sector

Whilst these examples are from outside the Local Government sector, there are examples from within the sector where Local Governments have negotiated measures to try and achieve productivity and efficiency outcomes with a view to shoring up their longer term financial sustainability.

One recent example where such measures were successfully negotiated was at the Town of Port Hedland in 2014.

In the agreement that came into force in December 2014, employees approved a separate salary structure for employees who would be employed by the Town after the agreement came into force. This separate salary structure provided annual wages of approximately 5% below that of existing employees. Employees also agreed to move to a single tier classification in line with the Local Government Industry Award 2010 which eliminated annual increment increases thus capping the rate increases for the life of the agreement.

Existing employees approved a total increase of 8.25% across the 3 years of the agreement (unless CPI exceeds 2.5% in the latter 2 years of the agreement).

The result was essentially a cost neutral agreement and the foundation for an eventual transition to a single classification structure for the vast majority of employees who work at the Town.

The Town of Port Hedland enterprise agreement is available at the following link:
https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/documents/agreements/fwa/AE412025.pdf

Key Considerations

These proactive measures employed to tackle the problem of unsustainable employee wages and benefits are worth consideration for Local Governments who are entering into agreement negotiations. Local Governments who do not have enterprise agreements can also consider these proactive approaches and whether they could be beneficial as part of approaching annual salary reviews.

Notwithstanding, there are always a number of varying considerations that should ideally factor into how a Local Government approaches any agreement negotiations or salary review processes.

If you would like any support in preparing for your enterprise agreement negotiations or salary review processes, please contact a member of WALGA Employee Relations on 9213 2092.

2015 National Local Government Human Resources Conference (6/2015)

 

Registrations are now open for the 2015 National Local Government Human Resources Conference held from 11-13 November 2015 in Melbourne.

This biennial conference will bring together human resource practitioners and Local Government managers from across Australia to hear and learn about a range of contemporary and future issues relevant to the management of human resources and the Local Government Sector.

Key topics of the program will include:

  • the art and science of leading change
  • enabling women leaders
  • social outcomes
  • driving high performance
  • technology and the modern workplace
  • cultural diversity in the workplace
  • conflict resolution
  • inspiring a leadership culture.


Who should attend?
This conference program is designed for HR professionals in the Local Government sector  and  directors, managers and officers involved with human resources, workforce, people, culture, leadership, training, learning, development, risk, performance, productivity, administration and payroll.

Event details:
When: Wednesday 11 November 2015 11:00AM - Friday 13 November 2015 12:00PM
Where: Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, 25 Collins Street, Melbourne, 3000, Australia
RSVP: Monday 2 November 2015

Cost:
Conference - Member: $990.00 (inc. GST) * Early Bird price up to 31 August 2015.

To register please click here
 
For further details please download flyer here

Local Government Industry Award 2010 ! 4 Year Review (5/2015)

 

WALGA Employee Relations, in conjunction with the State and Territory Local Government Associations, is currently participating in the four year review of the Local Government Industry Award 2010 (Award) in the Fair Work Commission. Justice Ross of the Fair Work Commission held an initial conference on 30 March, where the Commission indicated it would schedule another conference to discuss submissions from the parties in approximately six weeks.

To date, the Commission has received several submissions in relation to the Award, including a joint submission from the Local Government Associations. The submissions vary greatly in content. Some submissions call for minimal technical changes to the Award while others call for significant changes to be made to the Award including an increase in penalty rates and a decrease in the span of ordinary hours.

All submissions are published on the Fair Work Commission website as outlined below.

Local Government Industry Award 2010

Common Issues

WALGA will be meeting with the Local Government Associations and relevant unions to discuss the submissions prior to the conference with the Commission.  As such, WALGA will be sending out regular updates on the progress of the Award review and in the coming weeks, alerts will be sent out seeking specific feedback on the proposed changes. WALGA Employee Relations will also be sourcing witness statements and other supporting material from specific Local Governments relating to the impacts of the proposed changes contained within the submissions.

Local Governments are invited to provide initial feedback on these submissions by reply email to employeerelations@walga.asn.au

For further information please contact the WALGA Employee Relations team on (08) 9213 2092. 

ACELG report 'Profile of the Local Government Workforce' (4/2015)

 

The Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) have published a report Profile of the Local Government Workforce.

The report may be of assistance to Local Governments to assist with work undertaken in workforce planning and strategic human resources functions.

Some of the key findings detailed in this report are summarised in the points below.

Local government employees are everywhere – From the city to the bush, local governments are key employers everywhere. A higher proportion of the local government workforce is employed in regional and rural areas compared to other levels of government and important regional and remote employing industries. Given the significance of local government to the Australian regional and rural workforce and the fact that, in many locations, local government is the only level of government present in the area, strengthening the local government sector represents an excellent opportunity to secure and strengthen the economic, environmental and social foundations of rural and regional communities across the breadth of the country.

Gender of local government employees – Local government nationally employs a slightly higher proportion of men than women. However, there are significant jurisdictional differences. There is a need to increase gender diversity in the engineering/infrastructure occupation stream, where females are significantly under-represented with a presence of less than 10%. Providing more flexible employment opportunities in key occupations, attracting, training and retaining skilled female employees, and re-imagining existing relationships with local schools and tertiary institutions may assist in establishing gender equity in the sector.

An ageing workforce – The local government workforce is ageing, and is older compared with other government and industry sectors. Male employees are older than female employees, with a higher proportion of male employees aged 50 years or more. The ageing cohort of CEOs and general managers also suggests local government needs to be thinking about how to develop, attract and retain the next generation of senior leaders.

Education levels – Women working in local government are more highly educated than their male counterparts. When considered in the context of an ageing cohort of CEOs and general managers, this suggests there may be opportunities to address gender imbalance in senior leadership ranks by developing talented mid-level female managers and enabling career progression opportunities.

Women as elected representatives – Only one third of councillors and mayors are women, and an even smaller proportion (11%) of council CEOs/general managers are women. Women accounted for just 32% of candidates at the last round of local government elections. Local government and political organisations have a long way to go before they achieve candidate gender equity. Further research is required to determine what the barriers might be to female political participation in local government.

Workforce planning – Not surprisingly, the development of workforce plans is more common in jurisdictions where workforce planning is mandatory. The biggest workforce challenge facing local government is an ageing workforce and the high levels of impending retirements.

Differences in how local governments with voluntary and mandatory workforce planning respond to the ageing workforce challenge will be a key indicator of the success of workforce planning initiatives.

Indigenous employees – While local government is leading the public and private sectors in Indigenous employment and currently far exceeding CoAG targets, the changes to Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) and other employment programs has the potential to jeopardise this standing. There are opportunities to create more stable positions and better career opportunities for local government Indigenous employees, as currently there are few Indigenous people in leadership positions.

Training and development – A more strategic approach to training and development focussed on developing in-house talent to step into leadership positions, and on developing the skills of current employees so they are able to move flexibly between occupations experiencing skills shortages would yield positive outcomes.

Vacancies and skill shortages – Local government is experiencing skills shortages in areas commonly identified by other sectors and industries. This means that, in areas where local government experiences difficulties in recruiting , it is likely to be in competition with other industries for staff. Local government can learn valuable lessons from human resources strategies in other sectors by differentiating itself as an employer of choice and encouraging and promoting flexible working conditions, career development opportunities, and the chance to contribute to civic life and community wellbeing. The evidence suggests that flexible working conditions and career development is likely to contribute to a more equitable and diverse workforce that better represents the diverse communities served by local governments around the country

 

The report can be found at www.acelg.org.au/news/local-government-workforce-profile-released.

2015 Local Government Remuneration Survey (3/2015)

 

As a number of Local Governments have sought an extension to participate in the 2015 Remuneration Survey, we have extended the date for submitting completed survey spreadsheets until Wednesday, 25 February.

2015 Local Government Remuneration Survey 
Are your employee remuneration packages competitive in the Local Government sector? Are your turnover rates high or low in comparison to other Local Governments? If you’re creating a new position for an employee, do you know what the average pay rates are for employees in that position across Local Government?
 
Local Governments in Western Australia and the Northern Territory are invited to participate in the 2015 Local Government Remuneration Survey if you haven’t already done so. 

The Local Government Remuneration Survey is the only sector specific survey conducted for Local Governments in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. If a survey of this type was commercially created, it would normally cost several thousand dollars. The success of the survey relies on high levels of participation amongst Local Governments throughout Western Australia and the Northern Territory. To encourage responses we offer participating Local Governments who are subscribers to the WALGA Employee Relations Service a complimentary report containing the outcomes of the survey. A summary of fees for non-participants and non-subscribers is outlined below. These fees are exclusive of GST.
 

WALGA EMPLOYEE RELATIONS SERVICE SUBSCRIBERS (INCLUDING NT)
 

Survey participants

One complimentary copy

Survey non-participants
 

$500

NON-SUBSCRIBERS
 

Survey participants

$500

Survey non-participants

$1,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The survey results provide an invaluable resource to assist Local Governments with the planning and implementation of salary structures, and to help guide workforce planning. The survey covers over 130 common Local Government positions as well as a wide range of useful human resources information. Please ensure you complete entries for all of the data required in the survey accurately. Incomplete or inaccurate data may result in your Local Government’s information not being included in the report containing the outcomes of the survey.
 
To be involved, please complete the worksheet here and email a copy to survey@walga.asn.au prior to 25 February 2015. Please also see a table outlining the abbreviations to be used when recording the additional benefits provided to employees here.

Once the survey data is compiled into a report, those Local Governments who have participated in the completion of the survey or who have purchased the survey will be posted a USB containing a copy of the report. We are electing to use a USB for the report as part of WALGA’s wider commitment to sustainability.

Please email WALGA Employee Relations or call (08) 9213 2052 if you have any queries about the 2015 Local Government Remuneration Survey.

WALGA Employee Relations successfully defends City of Wanneroo in FWC claim (1/2015)

 

WALGA Employee Relations has assisted the City of Wanneroo to successfully defend an unfair dismissal claim heard in the Fair Work Commission. The claim was made by a senior employee who failed in his duty to provide a safe workplace to employees under his supervision.

The Applicant in the matter was demoted in his employment from Site Supervisor to the position of Waste Operator, which resulted in him receiving a significant reduction in salary and responsibility.

The Applicant was demoted because the City concluded that he did not provide employees under his control with a safe workplace. This finding was reached after an investigation into an incident at the Wangara Recycling Centre (“WRC”) which occurred in August 2013.

The City’s investigation found an employee under the supervision of the Applicant was entering a piece of plant called the ONP (“Old News Paper”) screen without the electrical isolation switches being engaged and without the box which contained the isolation switches being padlocked. The incident breached the City’s established procedure for isolation of plant and could have resulted in the serious injury or death of the employee who entered the ONP screen.

At the time the incident occurred, the Applicant was the Acting Business Manager of Waste Operations at the WRC, a level higher than his substantive position. He was responsible for the overall safe operation of plant and training of employees in matters of safety.

In his evidence, the Applicant was adamant that he had seen that the isolation switches were engaged throughout the incident. The Applicant’s evidence contradicted that of three witnesses called by the City, including an occupational health and safety specialist. Commissioner Williams identified some inherent inconsistency in the Applicant’s evidence determining that in all likelihood the Applicant had been dishonest about his actions on the day that the safety incident had occurred.

The Commissioner found that the conduct of the Applicant was clearly contrary to the City’s safety management plan and safety policies. He also found that the employee breached his general duty as an employee and his specific duties as the Acting Business Manager of Waste Operations.

The Applicant’s representative argued that the investigation and dismissal procedures adopted by the City were fundamentally flawed but these arguments were dismissed by the Commissioner who found that the City adopted procedures which satisfied the Fair Work Act criteria for considering harshness.

The Commissioner found that the dismissal was not harsh, unjust or unreasonable and dismissed the Applicant’s claim.

WALGA Employee Relations is always ready to assist Local Governments with matters in the Fair Work Commission, the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission or Equal Opportunity Commission. For assistance, please call 9213 2092.