team training session

Respect@Work Legislation

Practical Steps for Small Businesses to comply with the new Respect@Work Legislation

As previously advised to our clients, a significant shift will occur in the Australian employment landscape on 13th December 2023. There are a number of legislative changes which employers are required to comply with under the Respect at Work reforms.

These amendments place a ‘positive duty’ on employers to take reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate, as far as possible, unlawful sexual discrimination in their workplaces.

How to Comply – To comply with these laws, you need to take proactive steps and implement preventative actions against discrimination based on sex, harassment, hostile work environments and victimisation related to complaints or allegations.

Here are some practical steps for small businesses to prepare and comply with these changes:

1. Educate Your Team: The first step towards compliance is understanding the changes.

Educate and formally train your managers and employees about the updated legislation, emphasising the importance of respect, dignity, and equality in the workplace. This training should focus on ensuring everyone is aware of their rights and responsibilities and understands what is and isn’t appropriate workplace behaviour.

2. Review and Update Policies: Formalise your company expectations.

Review your existing workplace policies, especially those related to discrimination, harassment, or bullying. Ensure they align with the legislative changes. Take this opportunity to check that your Work Health and Safety policies place equal emphasis on psychosocial hazards as well as physical hazards, to ensure you comply with applicable Work Health and Safety legislation. Ensure your Compassionate Leave Policy specifies that employees and their partners can access miscarriage leave.

Once these changes are made, ensure you clearly communicate these changes to your employees. Having clear and legally compliant policies in place not only ensures compliance but also sets the tone for a respectful work environment.

3. Foster a Respectful Culture: Proactively promote a culture of respect, inclusivity and diversity.

Encourage open communication, active listening, and empathy among employees. Lead by example, demonstrating respectful behaviour at all levels. Demonstrate your positive steps to avoiding sexual harassment and sex-based incidents by clearly communicating what is and isn’t appropriate. If you have a client-facing business, ensure that your clients also act respectfully with your team members by communicating your expectations. By fostering a positive workplace culture, you create an environment where everyone feels valued and supported.

4. Seek Feedback: Give your team a chance to share their experiences.

Seek feedback from employees through anonymous surveys or focus groups to gauge their experiences within the work environment. Regularly review your workplace practices and culture to identify areas for improvement. Use this information to make necessary changes, ensuring your workplace remains respectful and inclusive.

5. Establish Reporting Procedures: Create effective reporting channels

Create clear and confidential reporting procedures for incidents of harassment, discrimination, or bullying. Ensure employees know how to report such incidents and that they can do so without fear of retaliation. Having a well-defined reporting process demonstrates your commitment to addressing workplace misconduct promptly and effectively.

6. Provide Ongoing Training and Support: Keep everyone up to date.

Equip your employees with the knowledge and skills to identify and address disrespectful behaviour. Offer regular and ongoing refresher training on topics such as conflict resolution and unconscious bias. Provide support such as confidential access to counselling services for employees who may have experienced harassment or discrimination.

7. Consult Experts: Don’t get caught short.

The legislation applies to every business, regardless of type, size and scope. If you would like assistance in actioning these steps, our HR Team is assisting many of our clients with tailoring the above steps to suit their business. The HR Team can provide guidance, training, advice and essential templates to assist you in meeting the minimum requirements for your business. If you are uncertain about how the new legislation applies to your business and what you need to do to comply, please contact Allan Hall HR at [email protected] or call us on 1300 675 393.

fire hydrant workplace health and safety

SafeWork NSW Small Business Rebate

$1,000 SafeWork NSW small business rebate

Key information

  • Status: Ongoing
  • Grant amount: Up to $1,000
  • Applications opened: 1 October 2018

Apply at

If you are a small business owner in NSW, this $1,000 rebate will help you purchase safety items to improve work health and safety for you and your workers.

This program is administered by SafeWork NSW.

Who can apply

Small business owners and sole traders who have an ABN and less than 50 full-time employees. Charities and not-for-profits can also apply.

The application must be in the name of the registered business owner. The registered business owner must agree to the terms and conditions.

What your application needs to include

  • Proof your business meets the eligibility criteria
  • Proof that you completed an eligible SafeWork NSW education activity
  • Proof of purchase for eligible safety item/s

Start an application

You can confirm your eligibility at the start of the application.

  • If you have your eligible documents ready to upload, the application will take about 10 minutes to complete
  • You can save and return to your application at any time
  • The application must be in the name of the registered business owner and signed by them.

Read more including eligibility criteria at


COVID-19 employee vaccinations

COVID-19 employee vaccinations

COVID-19 Vaccinations for employees

The Fair Work Ombudsman has released additional guidance to employers on the circumstances in which it could be appropriate to require their employees to be vaccinated. 

See link:

Employers can only require their employees to be vaccinated where:

  • a specific law (including the public health orders) requires an employee to be vaccinated
  • the requirement is permitted by an enterprise agreement, other registered agreement or employment contract, or
  • it would be lawful and reasonable for an employer to give their employees a direction to be vaccinated, which is assessed on a case-by-case basis. 

As to whether or not a direction is reasonable requires a case-by-case assessment based on factors which include:

  • the nature of the workplace (are employees in public-facing roles and is the business an essential service?)
  • The extent of community transmission in the location of the workplace, including the risk of transmission of the Delta variant
  • WHS obligations and the effectiveness of vaccines
  • Each employee’s circumstances including if there is a legitimate reason not to get vaccinated
  • Vaccine availability

To guide employers in the case by case assessment, the Fair Work Ombudsman has divided workplaces into four tiers:

  • Tier 1 work where employees are required as part of their duties to interact with people with an increased risk of being infected with coronavirus (for example, employees working in hotel quarantine or border control).
  • Tier 2 work where employees are required to have close contact with people who are particularly vulnerable to the health impacts of coronavirus (for example, employees working in health care or aged care).
  • Tier 3 work where there is interaction or likely interaction between employees and other people such as customers, other employees or the public in the normal course of employment (for example, stores providing essential goods and services).
  • Tier 4 work where employees have minimal face-to-face interaction as part of their normal employment duties (for example, where they are working from home).

As you would be aware from our recent article, the NSW Government has imposed a number of restrictions to combat COVID-19 including making specific public health orders which require workers in certain industries to have had a vaccination (or have an exemption) in order to work.

From 11 August 2021, additional restrictions were imposed on employees from “areas of concern” which are currently the local government areas of Blacktown, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta and some suburbs of Penrith. To keep up to date with changes to the public health orders and updates to the local government “areas of concern” go to

Construction industry

Since 31 July 2021, work has been allowed to resume on construction sites in Greater Sydney including in local government areas of concern. However, construction sites in local government areas of concern must comply with a number of requirements listed here:

One of the requirements is that from 11 August 2021 workers who live in or are temporarily staying in a local government area of concern must comply with vaccination requirements in order to work at or enter a construction site in Greater Sydney. A person from these areas must not enter or remain at a construction site in Greater Sydney unless they have:

  • had 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine or
  • had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before Wednesday 21 July 2021 or
  • had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine after Wednesday 21 July 2021 and you have been tested for COVID-19 in the past 72 hours (3 days) or
  • evidence of a medical exemption and you have been tested for COVID-19 in the past 72 hours.

If a person is required to have a COVID-19 test to enter or remain at a construction site, they must have a COVID-19 test once every 72 hours.

Construction workers can request a COVID-19 vaccination exemption for medical reasons.

Further information in relation to the evidence requirements is here:

Other industries

There are also vaccination requirements for quarantine facilities, transport providers and airport workers.  Further information is available here:

Residential Aged Care

From 17 September 2021, COVID-19 vaccinations will be mandatory for all residential aged care workers. For further information see:

Assisting your employees to get vaccinated

The NSW Government has released a number of resources for businesses to use to encourage their employees to get vaccinated and to ensure that employees have access to accurate information on the vaccination program.

The information is available here:

Allan Hall HR will continue to provide updated information about managing vaccinations in workplaces and keep you apprised of changes to the COVID-19 restrictions which impact you and your employees.  If you need advice and assistance in relation to the specific circumstances in your workplace, please get in touch with our team on 1300 675 393.

jobline queue

COVID-19 JobSaver payment

JobSaver cash flow support to impacted businesses to help maintain NSW employee headcount on 13 July.

Applications close 18 October

» UPDATE: JobSaver expanded following NSW lockdown extension

The eligibility for JobSaver has been released and is expected to be open for applications from 26 July 2021. The program objective is to help businesses save jobs to support the economy after restrictions are lifted.

JobSaver will provide cash flow support for impacted businesses that will receive a backdated fortnightlypayment to cover costs from week 4 (18 July) of the Greater Sydney lockdown, onwards.

Businesses that have applied and are eligible for the  2021 COVID-19 business grant  will generally be automatically eligible for JobSaver but must provide further information on employee headcount and payroll. These businesses may be contacted by Service NSW if further information is required. 

Some businesses that are not eligible for the 2021 COVID-19 business grant are still eligible provided they meet specific criteria. These businesses will be required to complete an application form.

Available funding

  • Fortnightly payments backdated to cover costs incurred from week-4 of the Greater Sydney lockdown (from 18 July). Once eligible, fortnightly payments will be automatic and businesses will not need to re-apply but must notify Service NSW if they are not maintaining their headcount that they had on 13 July. First payment backdated to 18 July.
  • Minimum payment of $1,500 per week and maximum of $10,000 per week equivalent to 40% of Weekly Payroll for work performed in NSW.
  • Non-employing businesses will receive $1,000 per week.
  • The Weekly Payroll amount will be worked out by reference to the W1 amount reported on the most recent activity statement lodged with the ATO prior to 26 June 2021. For most businesses this will be either the March 2021 BAS (for quarterly withholders) or the May 2021 IAS (for monthly withholders). Amounts withheld on behalf of contractors and wages not related to NSW should be removed.
  • Weekly Payroll Calculation– Take amount at W1 subtractW1 amounts that relate to states other than NSW subtractamounts withheld on behalf of contractors. The remaining amount is then divided by the number of days in the BAS period (depends on quarterly or monthly lodgment) and multiplied by 7. This will give the Weekly Payroll amount.
  • The weekly payment (paid fortnightly) will be calculated as 40% of the amount calculated above as the Weekly Payroll amount.

As an example, a business that lodged a W1 amount of $20,000 on their May Activity Statement (so a monthly withholder – assume only NSW wages and no contractors):

  • W1 = $20,000
  • Weekly Payroll – $20,000 divided by 31 days multiplied by 7 days
  • Weekly Payroll equals $4,516
  • Weekly Payment – $4,516 x 40%
  • Weekly Payment equals $1,806
  • This business would receive a payment of $3,612 per fortnight

Note: A quarterly withholder would likely use the March 2021 BAS and 90 days rather than 31 days in the above example.

Businesses that do not submit a BAS (such as weekly withholders) or have no W1 amount should use the ATO definition of W1 to calculate total wages. Then apply the same method as above.

Eligibility criteria

  • Must have an ABN and operating in NSW at 1 June 2021. There are some exemptions if you have an ABN outside NSW but can demonstrate you operated within NSW at 1 June 2021.
  • Aggregated turnover of more than $75,000  and less than $50M for year ended 30 June 2020. A micro business grant for businesses or sole traders with turnover of more than $30,000 but less than $75,000 will be available from late July.
  • Decline in turnover of 30% or more due to the Public Health Order over a minimum 2-week period within the Greater Sydney lockdown (26 June and due to end 30 July compared to the same period in 2019).
  • For employing businesses, maintain head count as at 13 July (Persons employed in NSW and who are Full-time and part-time and long-term (more than 12-month casuals) while they continue to receive JobSaver payments.
  • Businesses that do not maintain the declared headcount must notify Service NSW. An employer will remain eligible if an employee voluntarily resigns.
  • For non-employing businesses, the business receiving the payments must be the primary income source for the associated person. Individuals with more than one non-employing business can only claim from one business.
  • Entities earning passive income (such as rental income) are not eligible.
  • Employees canreceive Commonwealth COVID-19 Disaster Payments if their employer is receiving JobSaver.
  • Non-employing businesses are noteligible for JobSaver if individuals associated with and deriving income from the business are receiving the Commonwealth COVID-19 Disaster Payment.

Evidence in support of eligibility

  • Applicants must have experienced a decline in turnover of 30% or more over a minimum 2-week period from 26 June 2021 to 30 July 2021 compared to the same period in June and/or July 2019.
  • Declare headcount on 13 July and declare this headcount will be maintained.
  • Submit a tax return, notice of assessment or other document to show turnover between $75,000 and $50M.
  • Evidence of Weekly Payroll:
    • Most recent BAS with a W1 amount submitted prior to 26 June within the 2020-21 financial year;
    • For businesses with no W1 (weekly withholder) their 2019-20 payroll tax return;
    • For business that do not submit a BAS – contact Service NSW.
  • There is no alternate test for businesses that were not operating in 2019 (or if 2019 is not a true comparison) or did not meet the minimum $75,000 turnover. These applicants must contact Services NSW.
  • If you are in a highly impacted industry a letter from your accountants is not required with your application.
  • Anyone not in one of the highly impacted industries will require an accountant letter to submit with their application.

Some important notes

  • Applicants must have lodged a 30 June 2020 tax return to demonstrate a minimum $75,000 turnover. We understand some clients that are eligible may not have lodged their 2020 tax return, however, we understand there will be other options available to prove the $75,000 turnover requirement. If you are in this position, please contact your Allan Hall advisor.
  • Funding received from JobSaver is to be used to cover costs incurred from 18 July (Wages, rent etc.) The primary objective is to maintain employee relationships.
  • Businesses that applied and were eligible for COVID-19 business grant will generally be automatically eligible for JobSaver but must provide further information on employee headcount and payroll.
  • Construction and other industries are now considered highly Impacted .
  • Where a business operates through a Trust, they will be required to provide additional information to demonstrate an aggregated turnover of $75k or more is derived through the Trust, as opposed to a business linked to a trust.

See more information at or call Allan Hall’s team on 02 9981 2300.

Other Employment Options

There are also a number of other options for employers to consider at this time, including:

  • Allowing employees to continue to work from home
  • Standing down employees unable to work with no pay
  • Agreeing on changing rosters and hours of work
  • Agreeing on changing employees’ duties

See our HR team’s article here for more details. Alternatively, please contact our HR team directly to discuss your unique business circumstances by emailing [email protected] or calling 1300 675 393.


Happy friends enjoying on terrace. Smiling man and women are celebrating together during sunset. They are wearing casuals in party

How to avoid HR Issues during the Festive Season

A different kind of Christmas Party during COVID!

Each year we like to send out a reminder to employers of your obligations when it comes to those end of year celebrations.

CLICK HERE to read ‘How to Avoid Christmas Party Incidents!’

This information certainly still applies, in fact this year you have additional responsibilities, including making sure that your party is held in a COVID safe manner.

What does this mean? Essentially, you need to continue to abide by the latest COVID safe advice from the NSW Government. Updated information can be found HERE.

If you have a large workforce and are planning a gathering, you might have to consider breaking your team up into smaller groups to satisfy social distancing requirements.

Or get creative and host a virtual gathering with some added flare, such as a guided Christmas cooking class with all ingredients delivered, virtual wine tasting or traditional trivia. You may even consider ways in which you can take your event outdoors where more people are allowed to gather.

We have all had to adapt to new ways of thinking this year. Including those ever important social events!  

Annual Leave Requests

With the Christmas–New Year period fast approaching, you may notice an increased number of annual leave requests waiting for your approval. For those businesses that shut down over this period, approving annual leave is usually a joyous task. However, for smaller businesses continuing to trade during this period, it can be somewhat of a difficult juggling act to ensure you have enough employees on board to meet your customers’ needs while also ensuring employees receive a well-deserved break.

When reviewing annual leave applications, it is important to remember that you cannot unreasonably refuse to authorise an employee’s request to take annual leave. If you need assistance with understanding the rules surrounding ‘reasonableness,’ please do not hesitate to make contact with our HR team.

Public Holidays

In NSW the gazetted public holidays for the holiday season are:

  • Christmas Day Friday 25 December
  • Boxing Day Saturday 26 December
  • Additional Day Monday 28 December 2020
  • New Year’s Day Friday 1 January 2021
  • Australia Day Tuesday 26 January 2021

Can employees refuse to work on Public Holidays?

Employers can request that employees work on a public holiday if the request is reasonable. Likewise, an employee can refuse to work on a public holiday if the employer’s request is not reasonable. In determining whether the employer’s request is reasonable, under the Fair Work Act a broad range of factors are taken into account.  These include:

  • The nature of the employer’s workplace and the nature of the employee’s work
  • The employee’s personal circumstances
  • Whether the employee could reasonably expect the employer might request work on the public holiday
  • Whether the employee is entitled to receive overtime or other penalty payments that reflects the expectation to work public holidays
  • The type of employment of the employee (eg whether full-time, part-time, casual or shift work)
  • The amount of notice in advance of the public holiday given by the employer to the employee
  • The amount of notice given by the employee when refusing a request to work on a public holiday.

Payment for Public Holidays

A permanent employee who is absent from work on a public holiday is entitled to be paid their usual pay for his or her ordinary hours that would have been worked, even if they reasonably refused to work that day. Payment is at the employee’s base rate of pay (which excludes bonuses, loadings, allowances, overtime or penalty rates). Casual employees who refuse to work on a public holiday are not entitled to payment.

For Award covered employees or employees covered by enterprise agreements, it is important to check the penalty rates which apply on public holidays. Where a public holiday falls on a weekend, as it does on Boxing Day this year, there may be an entitlement to either the greater of the applicable penalty rates between the public holiday and the weekend penalty rates or both penalty rates. It is therefore important to check the Award or enterprise agreement carefully to ensure you pay your employees correctly.

Proposed changes to Employment Laws

Also, very topical in the lead up to Christmas this year is the Government’s significant proposed changes to employment laws in Australia. These include:

  • The way casuals are defined and treated
  • Changes to underpayment of wages, compliance and enforcement measures
  • Changes to the way Enterprise Agreements are made and approved
  • Simplification of Modern Awards

On 9 December 2020, the Federal Government introduced into Federal Parliament the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill 2020 which set out several reforms to the Fair Work Act 2009 to address some long-standing issues in these areas.

Our HR experts are experienced in interpreting these reforms and are monitoring the progress of the Bill closely. It seems likely that there will be amendments negotiated in coming weeks and we will provide you with further detail and explanation once the legislation has passed. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly at [email protected].



The NSW Budget 2020 – 2021

Ground-breaking support to help NSW businesses grow and create jobs

From $1,500 digital vouchers for smaller enterprises to cover government fees and charges, to relief from payroll tax, and a 3-year extension of the Business Connect program, NSW businesses are set to benefit from tax relief and other support measures designed to improve cash flow and help hire more staff as the State Government moves forward with its COVID-19 stimulus and economic recovery plan outlined in the 2020-21 NSW Budget.

Small businesses make up 97.5% of businesses in NSW and are a prime focus of the NSW Government’s 2020-21 Budget. If businesses are supported in post-COVID-19 recovery, they are more likely to stay in business, keep people in jobs and create new jobs as part of the State’s economic recovery.

With numerous businesses impacted by drought, bushfire and COVID-19, this year it is important that support is available at this critical time.

Key Measures

Key NSW Budget business and employment support measures include:

  • 2-year payroll tax rate cut from 5.45% to 4.85%. More information on the payroll tax changes will be made available on the Revenue NSW website.
  • Permanent increase in payroll tax threshold from $1 million to $1.2 million. These tax cuts, worth $2.8 billion, will provide an average saving of around $34,000 a year for the next two years for businesses liable for payroll tax.
  • $500 million Out & About program providing NSW residents with $100 of digital vouchers to redeem on dining out and entertainment activities to boost businesses and encourage spending locally. For information on the Out & About scheme, visit Information on the digital vouchers will become available on the Service NSW website in coming weeks.
  • $472 million for new digital vouchers worth $1,500 which can be used by small businesses under the payroll tax threshold towards the cost of government fees and charges.
  • More than $39 million funding boost for the Business Connect program, extended for three more years to support small businesses in accessing business advice.
  • $5 million for the NSW Small Business Commission to establish a new tendering support service under a 4-year program, assisting small business to prepare and submit Government tenders.
  • $2 million to continue the Small business rebate program, providing up to $500 to support small business owners and sole traders who buy and install safety equipment; and
  • Temporary extension to 28 March 2021 of the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct – SME Commercial Leasing Principles for retail tenants only with an annual turnover of less than $5 million. Landlords who provide rent reductions between 1 January 2021 to 28 March 2021 to eligible retail tenants experiencing financial distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for land tax relief of up to 25% on the land leased for the 2021 land tax year.
  • As a longer-term tax reform objective, the NSW property tax system has been flagged for reform around its inefficiencies and barriers to homeownership. The next step will invite public feedback on a possible transition away from the current transfer duty (stamp duty) and land tax system and move instead to a property tax system to boost long-term economic growth.

Need help?

If you would like more detailed information, you can read the full NSW Budget 2020 – 2021 Overview and the NSW Treasurer’s Speech.

For further assistance to interpret these changes and how they may affect your individual circumstances or your business, please contact your Allan Hall Advisor on 02 9981 2300.