IR Q&A Issue 9

Posted 11 January 2019

IR Q&A Issue 9

Q & A with Kristie Burt

Q: Who is Kristie Burt and what does the Legal Manager do?

A: Kristie Burt joined the MBA team in September 2018 in the role of Legal Manager.

Kristie is able to provide you with advice across a range of areas which are important to you and your business, including industrial relations advice and general legal advice.

Whilst no two days are ever the same, MBA members can discuss any of the following with Kristie:

Industrial Relations Queries

o Award information, including rates of pay;

o Fair Work Commission matters - such as lodging documents for approval, unfair dismissal claims;

o Employment contracts;

o Workplace policies;

o Enterprise Agreements (including approval process);

o General employment law queries - from commencement of employment and managing employees through to termination of employment.

General Legal Queries

o MBA Contract administration and related queries;

o Dispute Resolution;

o Debt recovery;

o Advice on ACT Legislation

o Referral to external parties.

If you have any queries that Kristie might be able to help with, please feel free to contact her.

Q: What can I do to manage online reviews for my business?

A: With social media platforms now being the main form of advertising for many businesses, it is much easier for potential customers to do their research about a particular business, to see what they have been up to and to leave reviews about the products/services received.

For the most part, these reviews can be positive but there might also be situations when they are negative.

Some helpful tips to manage your online reviews include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Have a moderator for your review platform who regularly checks any posts made about your business' products/services;
  • Don't make any statements about your business that are false and/or misleading and remember to remove any statements that could be false or misleading, should they come about;
  • Establish clear rules for users of your social media page/s and ensure that you block users who breach these rules;
  • Respond to negative responses tactfully (i.e. acknowledge the concerns raised) and suggest to move the conversation offline. Once an issue has been resolved, you might then choose to summarise an outcome of a concern raised, where you are able to do so.
  • If you simply don't want to use a review or testimonial function, you may choose to disable this option (depending on site).

The ACCC provides a number of guiding principles in its Guide, Online Reviews: A guide for business and review platforms which may also be of assistance to you.

Q: Do I need to have an Enterprise Agreement for my workers?

A: In short, no but there are some further questions that you should ask to see whether having an Enterprise Agreement could be a viable option for your business.

Some of the benefits of having an Enterprise Agreement can include:

  • Simplifying the terms and conditions of employment for all employees of the business or one work group within the business, rather than having employees covered by different Awards;
  • Making changes to the operational requirements of the business (such as hours of work, rosters, etc.) which are agreeable by the employees;
  • Simplifying the classification of positions within the businesses to be specific to what is required by the business rather than dealing with generic positions as described under an applicable Modern Award;
  • Simplifying the payroll administration process;
  • Improving consultation and grievance procedures with employees;
  • Generally improvement to the culture of the workplace.

In some circumstances, an Enterprise Agreement might not be a viable option for your business. It is always best to weigh up the positives/negatives before making any decisions.

MBA is able to guide you through the process if required.

If you have any queries or would like to ask a question, please contact me on 6175 5919 or email kburt@mba.org.au

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