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Workplace Policies in Australia

What are workplace policies 

Workplace policies are written guidelines that define the expectations and rights of employees and employers. As an employer in Australia, establishing clear and effective workplace policies is essential for promoting a safe and productive work environment as well as firmly stating the expectations, obligations, and rights of both employers and employees in a workplace. 

They cover a range of issues such as employee conduct, workplace health and safety, equal employment opportunity, social media use as well as conflict of interest. 

What is the purpose of workplace policies?  

The primary purpose of workplace policies is to create a safe, fair and productive work environment. Workplace policies aim to establish clear expectations for employees and employers, to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations, and to prevent disputes and conflicts from arising.

They also provide a decision-making framework that guides both employers and employees in case of a conflict or when an issue arises within the framework. 

What are some examples of workplace policies in Australia? 

Depending on the size of a business, there are a variety of workplace policies that can be implemented. At Lawpath we can help you with a legally vetted workplace policy template for the following: 

  1. Social Media Policy: This policy sets guidelines for the appropriate use of social media by employees, including the use of company resources, information, and the representation of the company’s brand.
  2. Working from Home Policy: This policy outlines the requirements and expectations for employees who work from home, including the provision of equipment and internet access, communication protocols, and performance expectations.
  3. Grievance Policy: This policy outlines the procedures for addressing and resolving employee grievances, including formal complaints and disputes, and ensures that employees are treated fairly and equitably.
  4. Diversity Policy: This policy aims to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace by prohibiting discrimination based on factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.
  5. Environmental Policy: This policy sets guidelines for the company’s environmental practices and procedures, including waste management, energy efficiency, and sustainability.
  6. Whistleblower Policy: This policy outlines procedures for reporting illegal, unethical, or unsafe behaviour in the workplace, and protects whistleblowers from retaliation.

Are workplace policies legally binding/enforceable in Australia? 

Workplace policies in isolation are not legally binding and are not enforceable in court. .  as they do not serve as a contract between the employer and employee. However, when workplace policies are incorporated into an employment agreement they can be argued and enforced in court as both parties are bound by the obligations set out in the contract. 

What happens if a company does not follow workplace policies 

If a company fails to comply with workplace policies, it may result in legal disputes, claims, and litigation. Employers who fail to comply with workplace policies may be subject to penalties, fines, and legal action. 

Additionally, non-compliance with workplace policies can damage employee morale, productivity, and satisfaction, and harm the company’s reputation and brand. Therefore, it is essential for employers to establish and enforce workplace policies to ensure a safe and productive work environment.

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