Now that the annual wage increase has been handed down and members are examining their wage and labour costs, it is an opportune time to also review the conditions of employment you have with your staff.
Most employers in the automotive industry pay above award rates but regrettably there is little or no documentation to underpin the terms and conditions of employment of staff.
The MTA’s Workplace Relations Department has assisted many members over the past year in dealing with underpayment of wages claims. These claims generally flow from a lack of necessary documentation and could have been avoided with properly constructed employment contracts.
Employment contracts can be drafted and implemented to cover existing or new employees. Contracts can provide protection for members while also providing clarity in remuneration and work conditions for staff. One of the advantages in implementing an employment contract is to include an ‘off-setting’ clause to ensure that underpayment claims can be rebutted when employees are paid above award rates. Members should note that absorption of increases and other payments into over-award rates is a customary practice in the automotive industry. However, unless appropriate provisions are documented and agreed on, it can leave an employer exposed to underpayment claims.
Members are encouraged to contact the Workplace Relations Department of the MTA to discuss their industrial relations and human resources needs further. Remember, it is better to be safe and to know that you have the appropriate documentation in place, than to rely on a simple and possibly false understanding that you are protected just because you are paying above-award wages.
The MTA is also scheduling its ever popular IR/HR information session on Wednesday 15 August 2018 at our premises on Level 1, 81 Greenhill Road, Wayville from 9am to 12 pm (Cost: $180-00). The session is conducted by our Workplace Relations Manager, Chris Mahoney, who is also an industrial lawyer and who will provide participants with all the necessary documentation and assistance in contract law. Click here to register.