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Employers: How to avoid the $33,000 fine from the Fair Work Ombudsman with these three lessons from disaster cases

We finally have Australia’s first government funded maternity leave, which is a very exciting step for Australian women and businesses. But it’s also a daunting one, as many businesses suddenly have to reorganise shifts, jobs, responsibilities and HR in order to take full advantage of the paid maternity leave system, and avoid the hefty fines and even bigger PR damage that mis-stepping could cause for your business.

This article details some cases against dodgy bosses who got slapped by the Fair Work Ombudsman, and it’s well worth the read.

 Here are three great tips to ensure you avoid a fine, or angry employees:

Factor maternity leave in now:

Don’t wait until one of your staff informs you she is pregnant, or when you’ve hired a woman of child-bearing age in a stable relationship. These two events are all too often the triggers for a leadership scramble to implement a maternity leave policy, or the processes this involves such as on and off-ramping. Not only will this make it smoother for you and your pregnant employee, it’s also very attractive to high-performing women to your company.

Look after your staff:

Often employers refuse to offer maternity leave, or promote it because they are concerned that the employee will resign at the end of the allotted maternity leave break, causing a loss of money and focus as they try to recruit, train and induct a replacement. However growing employee commitment to the business through promotions, good management and flexible working arrangements will ensure this does not occur for your business.

Play by the rules:

The guidelines and do’s and don’ts of the new maternity leave program are very clear – a woman can return to the same job, or one of the same value upon her re-entry to the workforce.  Don’t put her into a lighter job without openly discussing it with her, and only if she requests it. It’s critical that employers respect the rules of the act, to avoid the penalties for not complying.

This is just a taste though – click here to access the full article

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