HR Considerations for End of Financial Year

HR Considerations for End of Financial Year

HR Considerations for End of Financial Year
HR Considerations for End of Financial Year

The end of the financial year (EOFY) is a crucial period for HR departments, as it involves a variety of tasks and considerations to ensure compliance, accurate reporting, and strategic planning for the upcoming year. Here are some key HR considerations for the EOFY:

  1. Compliance and Regulatory Updates
  • Review Legislation Changes: Stay updated on any changes in employment laws, tax regulations, and compliance requirements that may affect your business.
  • Update Policies: Ensure that your company’s HR policies and procedures reflect any new legal requirements or changes.
  1. Payroll and Tax Reporting
  • Payroll Reconciliation: Reconcile payroll records to ensure all payments, deductions, and benefits are accurately recorded.
  • Tax Filings: Prepare and file required tax documents, including employee tax summaries and end-of-year tax returns.
  • Superannuation Contributions: Verify that all superannuation contributions are up-to-date and meet the regulatory deadlines.
  1. Employee Benefits and Entitlements
  • Leave Balances: Review and reconcile employee leave balances, ensuring that accruals and entitlements are accurate.
  • Bonuses and Incentives: Calculate and distribute any end-of-year bonuses or incentives according to company policies.
  1. Financial Reporting
  • Accurate Record Keeping: Ensure all employee-related expenses are accurately recorded and reported in the company’s financial statements.
  • Expense Reimbursements: Process and reconcile any outstanding employee expense claims.
  1. Performance Management
  • Performance Reviews: Conduct or finalise annual performance reviews, providing feedback and setting goals for the next financial year.
  • Training and Development: Identify training needs and plan professional development programs based on performance review outcomes.
  1. Budgeting and Workforce Planning
  • HR Budget: Develop or finalise the HR budget for the upcoming financial year, considering staffing costs, training expenses, and other HR-related expenditures.
  • Workforce Planning: Assess current staffing levels and plan for any hiring needs or organisational changes.
  1. Record Keeping and Documentation
  • Employee Records: Ensure all employee records are up-to-date and comply with legal requirements for record retention.
  • Archiving: Archive or securely dispose of any records that are no longer needed, in accordance with data protection laws.
  1. Communication and Employee Engagement
  • Inform Employees: Communicate any EOFY changes, such as updates to tax codes, benefits, or company policies, to employees.
  • Engagement Initiatives: Implement or plan engagement initiatives to boost morale and align employees with the company’s goals for the new financial year.
  1. Audit Preparation
  • Internal Audits: Conduct internal audits to ensure compliance with internal policies and external regulations.
  • External Audits: Prepare for any external audits by ensuring all records and processes are in order.
  1. Technology and Systems Review
  • HR Systems: Review and update HR information systems to ensure they are functioning correctly and efficiently.
  • Data Security: Ensure that all employee data is secure and that systems comply with data protection regulations.

By addressing these considerations, HR departments can ensure a smooth transition into the new financial year, maintaining compliance, and positioning the company for continued success.

Fair Work Commission Ruling: Employee vs. Independent Contractor Dispute

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) recently adjudicated a significant dispute involving a qualified personal trainer and a gymnasium owner. The core issue was whether the personal trainer was an employee or an independent contractor, a distinction crucial for determining her rights and protections under Australian employment law.

Background

The personal trainer had been working under a “personal training contract” with the previous gym owner. When new ownership took over in late October 2023, she continued her work without a clear redefinition of her employment status. The new owner had agreed to retain all subcontractors and employees but planned to issue new agreements later.

The existing contract contained ambiguous language, alternately referring to “employment” and engagement as a “contractor.” It included obligations such as maintaining a safe workplace and allowing access to gym facilities. Notably, the trainer was required to pay weekly rent (later waived), handle her own tax and insurance, and was compensated via invoices without employee entitlements like paid leave.

The Dispute

Tensions arose when the new employer discovered that the trainer was conducting her personal training business during “admin” shifts. The employer offered her a formal employment contract for the admin work, which she did not accept. Disagreements over pay rates and her ability to train clients during shifts led to a breakdown in the relationship, culminating in the termination of her engagement.

The trainer claimed she was an employee unfairly dismissed, citing the nature of her admin work and the level of control the employer exerted. Conversely, the employer argued she was an independent contractor, pointing to her tax responsibilities, insurance obligations, and the terms allowing her to run her own business.

FWC’s Consideration

The FWC’s decision focused on the personal training contract and the conduct of both parties post-ownership change. While acknowledging higher control during admin shifts, the FWC emphasized that the contract primarily aimed to utilise the trainer’s expertise for the gym’s benefit.

The FWC noted the contract envisioned a mutually beneficial relationship, with the trainer free to grow her business while the gym benefited from her services. This indicated an independent contracting relationship rather than employment.

Key Factors

The FWC considered various factors:

  • Mode of Remuneration: Consistent with employment, yet responsibility for tax and insurance suggested contracting.
  • Contract Terms: Allowed running her own business, pointing towards independent contractor status.
  • Dichotomy of Business: The contract allowed a synergistic relationship, benefiting both the trainer’s and the gym’s business.

Conclusion

The FWC concluded the trainer was an independent contractor, not an employee. The decision emphasised the importance of clear contract terms and understanding the nature of working relationships. The ruling stated, “Considering the totality of the arrangements, [the worker’s] contractual relationship was a contract for service as an independent contractor, not a contract of services by employment.” Consequently, as an independent contractor, the trainer was not protected by unfair dismissal laws.

Implications

This decision underscores the critical need for businesses and workers to clearly define their working relationships. Properly characterising employment status can prevent disputes and ensure both parties understand their rights and obligations under Australian law.

For more insights into employment law and the distinction between employees and independent contractors, visit Fair Work Commission.

Fair Work Commission Dismisses Claim: A Case of Genuine Redundancy

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) recently resolved an unfair dismissal claim filed by a customer relationship officer (CRO) from the PayPal team of a debt collection company. The worker alleged that his dismissal was not a genuine redundancy, but rather driven by other motives. However, the company maintained that the dismissal was due to genuine redundancy arising from operational changes.

Case Background

The CRO had been with the company for five years, during which he raised concerns about company conduct, including non-compliance with COVID rules, safety risks, and alleged victimisation. From July 2022 to August 2023, he was on workers’ compensation and later filed an anti-bullying application with the FWC against several managers.

In January 2024, the company’s group CFO announced significant financial losses, necessitating workforce reductions. As part of this restructuring, 78 employees, including the CRO, were made redundant.

The Company’s Justification

The company argued that the redundancy was genuine, citing changes in operational requirements. They contended that the CRO’s position was no longer necessary due to:

  • A reduction in business volume after PayPal onboarded another debt collection agency.
  • A steady decline in referrals.
  • Potential efficiencies from reducing the PayPal team from 4.5 full-time equivalents (FTEs) to 2.

A skills matrix evaluating call volume, average wait times, quality breaches, and experience ranked the CRO fourth out of six employees. Despite consulting the CRO according to the Banking, Finance and Insurance Award 2020 (Award) and considering him for redeployment, he was deemed unsuitable for available roles.

The Worker’s Arguments

The CRO argued that his dismissal was not a genuine redundancy, questioning the company’s financial rationale and the skills matrix used for selection. He claimed the matrix overlooked his strengths and that he was not adequately considered for a team leader position in Brisbane.

He further alleged that the consultation process was flawed, as he was not provided with all relevant information as mandated by the Award. Additionally, he argued that the company failed to make reasonable redeployment efforts and that the redundancies were a sham since PayPal had not yet engaged another provider.

FWC’s Decision

The FWC ruled in favour of the company, finding the dismissal to be a genuine redundancy. Key points from the decision include:

  • Financial Position and Operational Requirements: The FWC accepted the company’s financial difficulties and need for operational changes, validating the decision to reduce labour costs.
  • Consultation Compliance: The company met its consultation obligations under the Award, providing necessary information about the changes and their impact on the worker.
  • Redeployment Efforts: The worker was unsuitable for the team leader role, lacking the necessary qualifications and experience, making reasonable retraining impractical.

The FWC dismissed the claim that the redundancy process was unfair, noting that the redundancy was genuine and not influenced by the fairness of the selection process.

Key Takeaways

This decision underscores the importance of:

  • Valid Redundancy Reasons: Employers must have legitimate operational reasons for redundancy.
  • Compliance with Consultation Obligations: Providing all relevant information to affected employees is crucial.
  • Consideration of Redeployment: Employers should make genuine efforts to find alternative roles for redundant employees.

The FWC’s ruling serves as a critical reminder for employers to ensure that redundancies are genuine and conducted in compliance with legal obligations, thereby avoiding unfair dismissal claims.

Liquid HR Resource Hub Update

We are pleased to inform you that there have been substantial updates made to the Resource Hub and in time for the new financial year.

The updates include:

  • Policies (27 files)
  • Forms  (3 files)
  • Guides (1 file)

As a retained client, you’re welcome to explore and access the Resource Hub as part of your service https://liquidhr.com.au/resource-hub/

Liquid HR is a leading HR consulting firm helping businesses of all sizes to navigate the complexities of human resource management, while providing tailored HR services based on their unique requirements, including HR Outsourcing, Recruitment and HR Advisory Services.

With offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, we work with businesses across Australia.

For more information, please contact us on 1300 887 458 and speak with one of our HR Consultants.

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