As a result of the pandemic we are seeing workplaces short staffed with many employees sick, applying for flexible work arrangements, or resigning due to public health concerns and general lifestyle changes. In response, many employers are looking to internally recruit or to extend existing employee roles to fill these vacancies, however doing so without consideration can lead to hefty repercussions.
Should you change an employee’s role they must be reasonable changes, meaning the extended tasks or adjustments are similar or fitting to the employee’s original role and are seen as additional or related duties. When a role is changed drastically without the consideration of a new award or agreement, an employee has the capacity to make a redundancy claim (in some circumstances), which may result in substantial redundancy payments to be made by the employer. It may also see employees make an unfavourable treatment and discrimination claim, if they feel that they have received additional duties or changes unfairly, such as instances when other employees of similar stance have not.
It is in the employer’s best interest to see a new Employment or Enterprise Agreement drafted, finalised, reviewed and signed to reflect any major extension or adjustment to an employee’s role. Alternatively, dependent upon industry and role, it may see an employee’s classification within an Award adjusted in consideration of major role adjustments. To reduce the necessity to reproduce such documents and the likelihood of redundancy and unfair claims, employers should develop initial agreements in anticipation of potential employee role changes and the crossover of duties through agreement wording.
Employers also need to consider the required employee consultation’ that is defined within Awards, Employment and Enterprise Agreements, as this may require employee consultation prior to any major workplace changes such as roster, hours, or job restructuring. If this is not adhered to it can result in employer breach of contract and repercussions of penalty and compensation. This highlights the importance of documenting and regularly reviewing any changes or additional duties that are made to employee roles, particularly when determined as not warranting the drafting of a new agreement or award classification adjustment.
Assurance HR’s team of professionals are well versed in developing detailed and business specific position descriptions and employment agreements. We can assist you in making flexible documents that consider specific role expectations and foreseeable role adjustments, whilst aiming to attract the most suitable candidates for your team! Call us today on 1800 577 515 and speak with one of our professional team about your business specific needs.