With recent amendments to the Fair Work Act and changes to legislation seemingly always on the horizon, it can be difficult remaining compliant with laws and regulations surrounding HR in Australia.

There are a range of laws aimed at Equal Opportunity compliance in the workplace at both a state and federal level – for example, the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012. Complying with this legislation is a level one HR maturity requirement, which means it is a basic need for all compliance-driven HR services. The ‘HR Maturity’ model was released by Bersin & Associates and allows employers to gain an understanding of the level of integration and strategic functioning of HR within their organisations.*

However, when iHR Australia surveyed managers and HR staff from multi-location organisations, a number of issues were discovered. While complying with Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) legislation is a basic requirement of an HR function at level one, 9 per cent of respondents admit their organisation does not have such a policy – and 4 per cent are unsure.

This means that a small but significant percentage of businesses across Australia may not have reached level one of HR maturity.

Additionally, more than one quarter (28 per cent) of the survey participants revealed they either do not believe, or are unsure if their HR managers are adequately prepared to respond to EEO or workplace bullying and harassment issues. This highlights a need to offer more extensive Equal Employment Opportunity Training to HR managers and other senior-level staff.

For those who do believe their HR managers are able to effectively respond to these issues, only 38 per cent indicated that “these responsibilities are outlined in their position descriptions”.

Furthermore, almost a quarter (21 per cent) believe their EEO policies and practices are not “applied uniformly at all sites/locations”. This means that many employers are failing to maintain legislative compliance across all branches of the organisation.

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