Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: I have a number of casual employees who have been employed for over a year. Do they have a right to be converted to permanent part-time?

Frequently asked questions

From October 1st 2018 if an employee has been employed for over 12 months in a regular casual capacity with a pattern of hours without significant adjustment they may be able to request to have their employment converted. Individual circumstances need to be considered. Contact us if you need more specific advice. 

Q2: If an employee requests flexible working arrangements can we refuse?

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Not without an explanation that the Fair Work Commission would consider to be reasonable. You can face financial penalties if you refuse without a valid reason. You must consider all options and provide a written response within 21 days of the request. 

Q3: Can our employees work more than a 38 hour week?

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Under the NES in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) the maximum hours are 38 hours plus reasonable additional hours. The confusion lies in the "reasonable additional hours". Some industries do historically work longer days but these are often offset by RDO's or flexible start & finish times. Rule of thumb could be to average the hours out over a month (4.33 weeks) and if they substantially exceed 164 hours then you may need to adjust your work patterns. Contact us if you need more specific advice. 

Q4. As we are a small business, do I need to provide my employees with an employment contract and job description?

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By law it is not mandatory however it is important that your employees fully understand the terms and conditions of their employment as well as specific role expectations. If there is a dispute or an unfair dismissal claim brought against you these are the first documents that the Fair Work Commission will ask for. If you don't have them or cannot produce them it may be difficult to defend the claim. 

What is the difference between the Probation Period and the Qualifying Period?

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The Probation period is used to assess the employee's skills, knowledge, ability and fit with the job and the company, a bit like a trial period. It also allows the employee an opportunity to decide if the role and the company is what they are looking for. It is usually around 3 or 6 months long. The qualifying period is set by the Fair Work Commission as the minimum period (6 months) that must be worked before being eligible to bring an unfair dismissal claim against the employer. 

Q6. I have just received an Unfair Dismissal Claim, what do I do?

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Firstly, do not panic but you must act immediately! It's best not to contact the terminated employee as this could result in more issues for you and anything you say or do may be used against you. 

You have 7 days to collate your documentation and respond to the claim.  We can guide you with the process or you can hand the claim over to us to handle on your behalf. We can also attend the Fair Work Conciliation hearing with you as a support person or alternatively we can be your authorised representative.