Many good-intentioned employers are changing arrangements with their staff by way of verbal discussions in order to ride the wave of economic uncertainty during the Coronvairus pandemic.
Employers should be aware that making verbal agreements to vary employment arrangements are putting them at risk. If varied agreements are not clearly set out in writing it leaves the door open for misunderstandings as to the terms of the agreements. Further, if changes are not implemented in accordance with Award entitlements, the verbal agreements may not work.
We are already seeing disputes where staff are making claims for underpayments through breaches of their Award or contract. The longer the unwritten arrangements continue the greater the quantum of the claims that can be made.
It is important to understand that the Coronavirus pandemic does not excuse employers from complying with awards and written contracts. Some awards have been changed to provide mechanisms to alter hours and pay BUT unless proper process, documentation and disclosures are provided by employers when changing terms of employment they may be caught out.
If you need help changing your employee’s terms of engagement and avoid being caught out, please contact our Workplace Law Team.