Home' HR Monthly : March 2017 Contents 8
A liability for all
You may have seen the media story a few weeks
ago about the Fair Work Ombudsman penalising
an individual payroll manager for deliberately
underpaying two overseas workers, despite warnings
going back four years. The FWO Natalie James
took the opportunity to call out HR managers and
remind them about individual accessorial liability for
breaches of their responsibilities.
While I understand that people make mistakes
and can be forgiven, payroll officers and HR
practitioners should not be finding themselves in
breach of compliance obligations. When they do, they
demonstrate a level of incompetence which ref lects
poorly on the good reputation of their colleagues.
The FWO can fine individuals $6,000 and
companies $33,000 for each breach of the Act.
Because the penalties may add up to sizeable sums if
a number of breaches have been committed, it put me
in mind of our AHRI ProCover insurance protection
for professional members who could be penalised for
non- criminal offences, as well as for members who
incur costs defending allegations brought against
them in the course of doing their job.
There are also ongoing scandals about V W and
7-Eleven whose corporate behaviour with regard
to their cultures and their people practices have
prompted the question “Where was H R?”
Even less clear are cases that attract notoriety
such as the Tim Worner-A mber Harrison affair at
Seven West where allegations were made by
an aggrieved employee, Harrison, that HR
unfairly sided against her in favour of the
company chief executive.
What typically happens in professions
where there are legal or ethical HR
issues raised by employees or the public
is that the actions of the practitioner
can be tested against the established
standards of professional practice.
Up until the introduction of
HR certification, that could
not happen because we
had no set of professional
standards. With a vision and
an infrastructure now in place
for a stronger professional HR
framework, we can consider
applying to the Professional
Standards Councils to have a
HR Professional Standards
Scheme (PSS) approved.
The PSC is an independent statutory body that
provides a way for consumers to distinguish between
genuine professionals and the growing field of people
claiming to be professionals.
A PSS would bind AHRI via a legal instrument
to monitor, enforce and improve the professional
HR standards of its members.
To apply for a Scheme, evidence needs to be
provided that the profession is genuinely self-
regulated. Even though HR is now on the journey
towards professional acceptability, the reality is that
these journeys take time, and require a critical mass of
practitioners who are prepared to take the vital step.
I see evidence from where I’m sitting of individual
HR practitioners doing the right thing by their
employees, their employer, and their own estimation
of what is the right thing to do. Some complain to
AHRI that their professional behaviour has required
courage that has cost them their jobs. And they ask
what is AHRI doing about it.
That question is entirely legitimate.
My unwavering answer is professional certification.
Certification provides objective professional
standards that can enable practitioners to get beyond
the reliance on personal ethical standards. It is also
instrumental in moving HR towards acceptance as
a profession through standards that will satisfy an
independent regulator y body.
A real upside of AHRI achieving the standards
council approval would be to limit the civil
liability of certified HR practitioners. But we
cannot achieve that level of professional
recognition until we convincingly
demonstrate that a critical mass of HR
practitioners is certified in accordance
with exacting standards of knowledge,
skill and behaviour.
A critical mass is also needed so
that we can go to business leaders
and inform them with
confidence that an AHRI
certified HR practitioner
will bring outstanding
benefits to their business.
When we do that, we
need to know that we are
talking about you. •••
Lyn Goodear FAHRI GAICD
Chief executive officer
Tourism has been the good news
story for Australia’s economy.
The latest numbers show 8.2
million international tourists
visited Australia last year.
Australia’s inbound tourism
growth is almost triple the world
average of 3.9 per cent.
There are a few reasons for
this. Including a lower Australian
dollar, record low airfares and
a perception of safety in an
increasingly unsafe world.
However, this rapid growth has
revealed underlying problems.
In research done by Tourism
Australia, many of the 2,000
tourism businesses surveyed said
they found it difficult to recruit
appropriately experienced or
trained staff to fill vacancies.
The industry has addressed
some of these issues by retaining
or hiring more experienced
employees, some of whom had
come out of retirement. Many
unskilled positions are being
filled by workers on 457 visas and
there is a high reliance on holiday
visa holders, especially for many
of the industry’s seasonal jobs.
Tourism is a balancing act
between creating demand
and ensuring the supply of
both human resources and
infrastructure. There’s more
work to be done to achieve that
To continue tourism
needs to invest
20/02/2017 1:15 PM
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