Police Clearances – What you need to know as an employer

A National Police Clearance is a summary of a person’s police history in Australia. It is a list of a person’s disclosable court outcomes and includes any pending charges from all jurisdictions across the country. Conducting a police clearance on a potential new employee is often a staple part of the recruitment process for many employers. The rationale being; to protect the business from any future criminal activity and to ensure a potential new employee, is trustworthy and of good character. There are, however, a number of key legislative provisions in the area of discrimination and privacy, which must be considered when undertaking police checks as part of a recruitment process.

 

Can I Request a Police Clearance?

 An employer can conduct a police clearance check on a potential applicant throughout the recruitment process. Any findings, however, should only be considered where there is a clear link to the inherent requirements of the role.

Where an employer believes that a potential employee’s criminal record may impede their ability to perform the inherent requirements of the position, they must get the person’s consent to conduct the check. It’s also important to advise potential candidates on the job advertisement and throughout the process that a police check may be conducted as part of the recruitment process.

 

Can I refuse to employ someone based on their criminal history?

An employer may be able to lawfully refuse to employ a prospective employee based on their criminal record where there is a clear link to the inherent requirements of the role. For example, a person with convictions related to assault and violence may be deemed unsuitable for a role that is responsible for the care of vulnerable people such as those with disabilities, the elderly, or children. Another example, is in the context of a person who has a criminal record related to fraud and financial crimes. In this scenario they may be deemed unsuitable for a role that requires them to deal with financial transactions or accounts within a business.

A person’s criminal history should not automatically disqualify them from potential employment, with each circumstance treated and assessed on a case-by-case basis. An example, where a person’s criminal record may have no impediment on the ability to perform the inherent requirements of the role, may be where a person has been convicted for driving offences and they are applying for a role as an accountant. In this situation, there may be no clear link between their performance of the inherent requirements of the role and their past convictions.

 

Practical Example

A 2018 inquiry conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission (the AHRC), BE v Suncorp Group Ltd [2018] AusHRC 121, looked into the issue of discrimination in employment based on a person’s criminal record. The complainant raised a written complaint to the AHRC alleging discrimination based on a criminal record after a conditional offer of employment was revoked by Suncorp following a police check conducted on him.

The police check revealed that in 2008 he was convicted of accessing and possessing child pornography and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment. It further revealed that in 2015 he was fined for a failure to comply with reporting obligations related to these previous offences. After receiving the criminal record history, Suncorp discussed the findings with the applicant and later rescinded the offer. At no time did Suncorp cite the criminal record findings as rationale for rescinding the offer, however, the AHRC considered the merits of the matter and determined that the previous convictions were not sufficiently linked to a failure to perform the inherent requirements of the role.

The AHRC made a recommendation in this case that Suncorp pay the applicant $2,500 compensation and further recommended they revise their recruitment policies for people with criminal records and conduct further training for staff involved in recruitment decisions.

 

Key Considerations

There are several key considerations employers must keep in mind when requiring a police clearance check as part of a recruitment process, such as:

1.) Consider whether the job vacancy requires a police check and if any criminal history may impede an applicant’s ability to perform the inherent requirements of the role;

2.) If you intend to conduct a police clearance check, ensure that it’s written in the job advertisement and reinforced to applicants at time of interview that they may be subjected to a police clearance check;

3.) Ensure you get an applicant’s permission to conduct a police clearance check;

4.) Allow a candidate a right of reply and opportunity to explain any convictions that may be present on a police clearance check;

5.) Treat each scenario on a case-by-case basis; and

6.) Ensure the business has a prescriptive recruitment policy in place which is compliant with equal opportunity, discrimination and privacy legislation considerations in relation to police clearance checks on potential employees.

Want to know more? Contact CCIWA’s Employee Relations Advice Centre team on 9365 7660 or email advice@cciwa.com

 

 

 

 

 

JOBKEEPER 2.0 – What does it mean?

The government has announced an extension of JobKeeper, along with changes to the current employee eligibility rules.

You can find full details of the announcement here.

ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEES – IMPORTANT CHANGE TAKING EFFECT IMMEDIATELY

The government has made a change to the rules around employee eligibility. For the JobKeeper fortnight starting on 3 August 2020, the date employees must meet the eligibility rules has changed to 1 July 2020 (previously 1 March 2020). This may now mean that employees who were not previously eligible will now be covered.

If this is the case, you would need to make any top-up payments to these employees for the current fortnight ending 16 August 2020 by this date.

The other employee eligibility rules apply, as at 1 July 2020 they must:

·         Be employed by the employer

·         Were either:

o   Full-time, part-time or fixed-term employee

o   Long-term casual employee (employed on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months) as at 1 July 2020 and not a permanent employee of any other employer.

·         Be aged 18 years or older at 1 July 2020

·         Be an Australian resident or an Australian resident for Income Tax purposes and the holder of a Subclass 444 visa.

·         Not be in receipt of parental leave or Dad and partner paid or in receipt of workers compensation payments.

FROM 28 SEPTEMBER 2020 (for period of 28 September 2020 – 3 January 2021):

To be eligible, the entity must be able to demonstrate that it has incurred a fall in turnover (as per below) for the quarter ended 30 September 2020. This time the test is solely based on ACTUAL GST turnover and no projections can be used.

The basic test compares the current year quarter vs the same quarter of the previous year.

·         Business with aggregated turnover under $1 billion, must demonstrate a fall in turnover of 30% or more

·         Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission-registered charities must demonstrate a fall in turnover of 15% or more

JobKeeper Payment Rate

The payment rates will be adjusted to the following amounts:

·         $1,200 per fortnight for all eligible employees who, in the four weeks before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, were working for 20 hours or more a week on average

·         $1,200 per fortnight for eligible business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more per week on average

·         $750 per fortnight for all other eligible employees and business participants.

FROM 4 JANUARY 2021 (for period of 4 January 2021 – 28 March 2021):

To be eligible, the entity must be able to demonstrate that it has incurred a fall in turnover (as per below) for the quarters ended 30 September 2020 and 31 December 2020. Again, the test is solely based on ACTUAL GST turnover and no projections can be used.

The basic test compares the current year quarter vs the same quarter of the previous year.

·         Business with aggregated turnover under $1 billion, must demonstrate a fall in turnover of 30% or more

·         Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission-registered charities must demonstrate a fall in turnover of 15% or more

JobKeeper Payment Rate

The payment rates will be adjusted to the following amounts:

·         $1,000 per fortnight for all eligible employees who, in the four weeks before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, were working for 20 hours or more a week on average

·         $1,000 per fortnight for eligible business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more per week on average

·         $650 per fortnight for all other eligible employees and business participants.

ALTERNATIVE TESTS:

The government has advised that as with the initial application, there will be a series of alternative tests available for businesses who either did not trade in the comparison period, or that the comparison figures are not appropriate for certain reasons.

There will also be discretion available where an employee’s hours were not usual during the February 2020 or June 2020 test period in determining whether they worked 20 hours or more per week (to claim the higher rate of payment outlined above). We still await further details on this.

A Message from the President – Survive or Thrive

Unless a vaccine is found very soon, the 2020 Year of COVID-19 could well turn out to be the first of several years where COVID-19 continues to impact our lives and our businesses. If so, we will have to learn to adapt and live with this virus for some time. Multiple regions, like Victoria, and many countries are experiencing a type of second wave as they emerge from hard lockdowns which have already severely impacted jobs, businesses and the economies.  State and international border closures have inoculated WA from a second wave so far but how long can WA remain isolated from the rest of Australia and the world?

How many more disruptive lockdowns can our modern, integrated economies survive if widespread lockdowns continue to be the response to further outbreaks? And how much further can State and Federal governments go into debt to fund JobSeeker, JobKeeper and multiple business survival packages to lessen the impact of these lockdowns?

There is now ample evidence that this virus cannot be totally eradicated so perhaps it is time to look at different approaches until a vaccine is delivered. An approach where the focus is not on economy destroying widespread lockdowns, but on continuing promotion of sensible social distancing and providing the maximum resources possible towards directly protecting and supporting those most vulnerable to COVID-19 until a vaccine is available? We must get people back in work and businesses back in business as quickly as possible.

There is no doubt small and medium sized businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 control measures. Unfortunately, some local businesses have already closed their doors, many jobs have been lost, the 2020 tourist season has started late, and visitor numbers are down.  Tourism touches so many people and businesses in Broome and that sector has been hit particularly hard.

It is tough out there and it’s going to continue to be tough.  But what never ceases to amaze me is how resilient, tenacious, adaptable and innovative small business operators are.  With a healthy balance of realism and optimism many businesses are making the changes necessary to adapt and survive.  We are seeing this first hand in many of the Business Excellence Awards entries that have been submitted so far.  Our message to governments is that supporting the small business sector will be the quickest way back to providing jobs and getting the economy moving again.

We should never underestimate small businesses capability to survive and thrive. And Broome remains a good place to do that. There are few places that can match Broome’s liveability, lifestyle options and potential.

And perhaps without realising it, Broome has achieved a very diverse economy over the last decade or so with no one sector dominating, and many sectors have only been marginally affected to date.  Broome is still a very attractive place to visit and will benefit from the reluctance of many to travel overseas which may continue for some years.  The potential for a bumper shoulder season is very good.

There are good thing happening.  We will see the local construction sector strengthen in the next couple of months on the back of a significant increase in residential land sales thanks to government subsidies and continuing low interest rates.  The Kimberley Marine Supply Base is preparing for construction to start early next year and don’t discount Sheffield Resources re-energising their Thunderbird operations soon.  We are also likely to see domestic cruises, confined to the WA coast, starting up soon and Broome will be the number one attraction.

Broome also has a large range of shovel ready projects waiting for funding.  The Chamber has taken a lead role along with the Shire and other key stakeholders to pull together a Three Year COVID-19 Recovery Plan seeking to accelerate funding for these shovel ready infrastructure projects to create local jobs and increase money supply into the local economy. The Federal and State Governments has the money, we have the projects…… ready to go.

Broome’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan is our submission for some of this funding. Our competitive advantage is that these projects are ready to go and we have been able to demonstrate that the community is aligned and supportive of these projects.  I urge you to read the attached plan which also demonstrates the huge potential for Broome as a regional centre and a great place to live.

The future still looks bright!

PETER TAYLOR
President BCCI

RCCIWA Impact Survey Five Summary Report

Results from the fifth survey in our continuing series on the impact of COVID 19 on businesses in regional WA indicate that as we see more easing of restrictions and move towards a new way of doing business in regional WA,  confidence in regards to surviving and recovering has increased further.

92% of all respondents feel confident that their business will survive this pandemic and 63% have seen an increase in business activity since easing of restrictions commenced. We know this increased confidence is driven by many factors, with the access to relief and stimulus measures being a major one. This is also why 55% of all respondents have asked for JobKeeper to be extended.

Still the region of most concern for RCCIWA is the Kimberley Region – with many factors contributing to those businesses being the most severely impacted in regional WA right now. We will continue to advocate for additional support measures for Kimberley businesses and will utilise the data collected in our surveys to highlight their situation.

Please thank your members for completing our survey – the information is being well used and their opinion and feedback does matter. We know everyone is getting a bit surveyed out, so the fact that regional businesses are taking the time to complete it is most appreciated. You have our permission to share our survey reports, including those from Surveys Two, Three and Four.

Business after Hours – EOI For First BAH Since COVID!

Are You Ready for Business after Hours?

With COVID restrictions easing, the Chamber is looking at facilitating a BAH from July onwards (this will change if COVID restrictions change).

We are seeking Expressions of Interest from Chamber members who are interested in hosting a BAH to showcase their business.

Get your business at the forefront of everyone’s minds at Broome’s Premier Networking Event!

 

Register Your Interest TODAY!

Please call the Chamber on (08) 9193 5553 or email media@broomechamber.com.au to register your interest.

You must be a Chamber member to host a Business after Hours.

Click HERE to see what’s required in hosting.

Updates on Restrictions for Tourism Businesses

As Phase 2 began on Monday, the State Government has released its formal Closure and Restrictions (Limit the Spread) Directions (No 3) which identifies permitted and restricted activities. The Directions can be seen here. You should review the Directions and how they apply to your individual business.
1. Permitted Tourism Services exempt from Gathering Limits and Safety Plans Under Section 12 of the Directions, many tourism services are exempt from the limits on gatherings. Neither the 20 person nor 4 square metres limit applies on these exempt services. A COVID Safety Plan is not required for these exempt services. Tourism services which are exempt include:
  • Accommodation services (including a hotel, motel or other accommodation facility) are exempt under section 12(0).
  • Airports are exempt under section 12(c).
  • Food Markets, Supermarkets & Grocery stores are exempt under section 12(l).
  • Motor Vehicles are exempt under section 12(u).
  • Public Transport including Charter Vehicles and similar services are exempt under section 12(d). This means neither the 20 person nor 4 square metres limit applies.
 
2. Special Cases
  • Takeaway food and delivery remain a permitted service. A COVID Safety Plan is not required for takeaway food services unless it is from a pub, bar or club with a liquor licence.
  • Swimming Pools are now permitted but with the 20 patron and 4sqm limits per pool. Communal shower and change room facilities remain closed, except for the toilets. A COVID Safety Plan is not required.
  • Non-contact sporting activity is permitted, indoors or outdoors, provided equipment is cleaned between uses and there are no more than 20 participants. A COVID Safety Plan is not required.
  • Indoor gym, health club or fitness centre where there is: no bodily contact, no use of shared equipment and no use of fixed equipment. Communal shower and change room facilities remain closed, except for the toilets. A COVID Safety Plan is required.

3. Meal Services Re-Opening with Limits and Safety Plans Sit-down meal service is now permitted in certain places with limits. The limits are 20 patrons (not including staff) and at least 4 square meters per patron. Alcohol is limited to consumption with a meal on licenced premises and COVID Safety Plans are required. Food Courts are still prohibited. The places now permitted to provide a meal with limits and a safety plan include:

  • a licenced pub, bar or club.
  • a licenced or unlicensed hotel.
  • a restaurant or cafe.
4. Tourism Services Still Prohibited Several tourism attractions, facilities and ancillary services remain completely prohibited. These are:
  • Amusement park or arcade.
  • Casino or entertainment venue.
  • Gallery, museum or historical sites.
  • Beauty parlour, spa or massage parlour and beauty therapy services.

Staying engaged and motivated while working from home

We are now a few weeks into the new normal of working at home. Some people may be thriving in this new environment. For others, they may be missing colleagues and a formal office space. Maybe by now the shine of being at home has worn away. Yet work continues and needs to be completed. How do you stay engaged and motivated while being away from your usual workplace routine?

Here are our top 5 tips for keeping motivated and engaged while working from home:

1. Keep all meetings to 30mins or less

We encourage you to over communicate so you feel more connected with your colleagues. But don’t let your meetings drag on. Adjust your agenda to have shorter, sharper meetings. This will boost engagement as the pace picks up and conversations become clearer and more concise.

2. Nominate a social champion

If you naturally have social people in your team, utilise them! Get them to lead social initiatives to encourage connection – such as starting each meeting with a fun fact or sending a question to engage everyone to answer. If you would prefer something more subtle why not create themes for virtual meetings. For example, everyone wears something on their head, or chose a colour a day to coordinate clothes choices for something fun.

3. Create a channel for fun

Engagement stems from being naturally driven to pay attention and get involved. Encourage this by setting up channels for fun topics on your collaborative tool like MS Teams. It could be as simple as sharing new background images for everyone to use on your virtual meetings, sharing funny photos of your pets, or maybe sharing your home cooking disasters and delights. Either way, the more we share the less isolated we will feel

4. Change up your workspace

If you have the ability to, take your laptop outside to work. If you don’t have that option, look at rearranging your current workspace. Maybe de-cluttering is a good option after a few weeks of working. Only have what you need around you and put away everything else. Consider introducing some plants or moving your desk more towards natural light.  Small changes can make a massive difference to your state of mind. If you’re comfortable at your desk, you’re more likely to enjoy working there.

5. Learn something new

Now is a great time to develop your skills. Maybe take up a new hobby, read a self-empowerment book in your downtime or formally advance your professional skills. When we learn something new we usually want to share it with those we are connected to. This is a great way to communicate knowledge and increase motivation at the same time. When we are motivated our energy resonates to others, leading to increased connection and engagement for new shared understanding.

Implementing these tips can help foster engagement and connection among team members. This in turn is motivation to achieve more, resulting in strong successful teams.

VendorPanel Making Life Easier For Business

As part of the Shire of Broome’s ongoing effort to work better with local suppliers the Shire will soon manage the majority of sourcing through VendorPanel Marketplace.

VendorPanel Marketplace uses geolocation to enable staff to easily identify local suppliers and invite them to quote on work. It is entirely free for suppliers and  provides you with an easy to use tool to manage your quotes.

Registration is easy:

  1. Go to http://www.broome.wa.gov.au/About-Council/Tenders-Quotes/Registering-for-VendorPanel and click on the ‘Register Now’ button
  2. Search and select the best category for your business
  3. Click on the link you receive via email to complete your profile

Once registered, your business profile will be visible to buyers searching in your category and region of service.

If you need any help in registering, please contact VendorPanel Support: support@vendorpanel.com.au or 03 9095 6181.

The Shire Procurement team is holding VendorPanel registration support sessions if you would like assistance in registering.

These are being held at the Shire Administration building ‘Meeting Room 1’ on Tuesday 18 February, Thursday 20 February, Tuesday 25 February and Thursday 27th February between 3:30-5:30pm.

Please contact the Procurement team on the contact details below if you would like more individual support.