Norman Waterhouse
   
Norman Waterhouse

Normans Briefly

In this issue

Welcome to the December edition of our Corporate and Commercial Briefly.

Use of mobiles and tablets is on the increase with almost 40% of visits to normans.com.au now coming through handheld devices. We would like our mobile users to have the best possible experience when using the Normans website on smaller screens. Therefore, after several months of development, we are delighted to announce the launch of our new mobile site.

Our aim is to provide the best user experience for reading our content, locating our contact details and finding us on an easy Google map. If you view the site on an iPad or anything larger, you will still see the desktop site.

We hope you enjoy the mobile site.

Kind regards,

Normans Marketing Team

Walking the Talk – Industrial Relations in the Real World
Full Day Seminar
4th April 2014

Following our highly successful industrial relations conference earlier this year, the Norman Waterhouse Employment and Industrial Relations Team invites you to join them again for a full day of in-depth and interactive analysis of workplace issues.

The program will be launched on 6th January. Click here to register to be the first to receive the notifcation of the program launch.

We wish all of our valued clients a very happy Christmas and prosperous 2014.

Please note our office will close at 12 noon on Friday 20 December 2013 and reopen on Thursday 2 January 2014.

>   Employment – The twelve days of Christmas
>   Extension of time for ACNC reporting
>   ACNC Governance Standards
>   Labour market testing for 457 visa sponsors

article image

Employment – The twelve days of Christmas

Lawyers have a tendency to bring bad tidings for the Christmas and New Year period. The circumstances around the period bring unique pitfalls that employers must be careful to manage and avoid. Leave balances must be reviewed, motivation must be maintained and distractions must be managed, among other things.

However, the Christmas and New Year period offers a significant opportunity for managers to go above and beyond their day-to-day managerial duties with a view to improving the cohesiveness, morale and loyalty of their teams.

We at Norman Waterhouse strongly believe in, and practice, this philosophy. In the days leading up to Christmas this year and in future years, why not try a few new things that may work for you?

  • purchase a ‘team gift’ of some practical use. A good team coffee machine will usually do the trick.
  • organise a massage therapist to give a neck and shoulder massage to employees who may want one.
  • provide coffee and doughnuts for a team morning or afternoon tea.
  • rejuvenate your office-space – replace old or ergonomically unsound furniture, add a plant or two, and rearrange spaces that are presently not well-used.
  • hire a ‘foosball’ or table-tennis table and hold a tournament in the office during your lunch break.
  • ask your employees one by one for feedback on which particular management initiatives over the past year have proven most beneficial and which ones have failed.
  • get involved with a charity – pick a charity and encourage your employees to perform some community work and make donations to the charity.
  • leave work half an hour before closing and go bowling.
  • give positive feedback to all individual employees about their performance over the year. Keep the negative feedback for another time.
  • organise a meeting where each team member can address the group and express any positive feelings relating to the team and/or the workplace.
  • distribute cards and/or inexpensive gifts among employees – the more individualised and personal, the better.
  • hold an office party and let everyone enjoy themselves. People already know what they can and cannot do. Have fun, and wish staff and their families well during the break. Consider providing ‘cabcharges’ to employees to get them home safely.

Provided common sense prevails, the provision of gifts and opportunities such as those outlined above can lead to happier, and in turn, more productive teams. Managers should consider seizing the opportunity provided by the Christmas and New Year period to undertake such endeavours, and to have some fun themselves.

Have a safe and wonderful Christmas and New Year, from all of us at Norman Waterhouse.

For more specific information on any of the material contained in this article please contact Sathish Dasan on 08 8210 1253 or sdasan@normans.com.au.


article image

Extension of time for ACNC reporting

In last month’s edition of Corporate and Commercial Briefly we reported on the obligations of registered charities to report to the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC) pending the dismantling of the ACNC as foreshadowed by the coalition Government.

Since then, the Assistant Treasurer advised Senate Estimates meetings that the Minister for Social Services intends to conduct formal consultation with the Not For Profit (NFP) sector on how the Government’s election commitments would be implemented prior to finalising the Government’s NFP plans;

In the meantime, the ACNC has published on its website that for charities with a 1 July to 30 June financial reporting period, the date for submission of the 2013 Annual Information Statement has been extended from 31 December 2013 to 31 March 2014.

For more specific information on any of the material contained in this article, please contact Johanna Churchill on 8210 1236 or jchurchill@normans.com.au.


article image

ACNC Governance Standards

In this edition, we look at the relationship between the ACNC Governance Standards which were published last year and the Corporations Act requirements for charities which are incorporated under the Corporations Act (such as companies limited by guarantee).

As previously reported, it is a condition of registration with the ACNC that charities comply with five new ACNC Governance Standards. These standards can be summarised as follows:

1. Purposes and not-for-profit nature of a registered charity

A registered charity must be able to demonstrate (by reference to its governing rules or its operations) its purposes and character as a not-for-profit entity, make information about its purposes readily available to the public, and comply with its purposes.

2. Accountability to members

A registered charity must take reasonable steps to ensure that it is accountable to its members and provides them with an adequate opportunity to raise concerns about the governance of the registered charity (for example, by holding an annual general meeting with a question and answer session).

3. Compliance with Australian laws

Compliance with Australian laws sets a minimum benchmark by which all registered charities should govern themselves to protect the interests of the public.  A registered charity must not engage in conduct, or omit to engage in conduct, if the conduct or omission may be dealt with as an indictable offence (and in some circumstances, a summary office) under Australian law, or with the imposition of a civil penalty of 60 penalty units or more.

4. Suitability of board members (responsible persons)

A registered charity must take reasonable steps to ensure that none of its board members are disqualified from the management of corporations under the Corporations Act, or are otherwise disqualified from acting as a board member of a registered charity by the ACNC.  Charities must take reasonable steps to remove board members who do not meet those requirements.

5. Duties of board members

Registered charities must take reasonable steps to ensure that board members comply with the following duties:

5.1 to exercise their powers and discharge their duties with the degree of care and diligence that a reasonable individual would exercise those powers and discharge those duties;

5.2 to act in good faith and in the registered charity’s best interests, and to further the purposes of the registered charity;

5.3 not to misuse their position;

5.4 not to misuse information obtained in the performance of his or her duties as a board member;

5.5 to disclose perceived or actual material conflicts of interest of the board member;

5.6 to ensure that the registered charity’s financial affairs are managed in a responsible manner.  The extent of this duty will depend on the registered charity’s size and circumstances and the complexity of its financial affairs;

5.7 not to allow the registered charity to operate while insolvent (as defined in the Corporations Act).

Relationship between ACNC Governance Standards and Corporations Act requirements

From 1 July 2013, the following provisions of the Corporations Act are replaced by Governance Standard 2 for companies which are registered charities:

  • calling of meetings of members;
  • how these meetings are held (including how votes are counted);
  • the use of proxies and representatives at meetings of members;
  • requirements for annual general meetings; and
  • minutes and access to minutes.

In addition, most of the provisions under the Corporations Act relating to duties of directors and officers no longer apply to directors and officers of registered charities.  Provisions that no longer apply include those dealing with the following duties:

  • duty to act with care and diligence;
  • duty to act in good faith in the best interest of the company;
  • duty to avoid improper use of position; and
  • duty to avoid improper use of information.

In addition, the provisions of the Corporations Act relating to the disclosure of conflicts of interest will no longer apply to directors and officers of companies which are registered charities.


Instead, charities must comply with Governance Standard 5 which sets out the above duties in a similar way.  It is expected that the ACNC will interpret these duties in a similar way to those in the Corporations Act.  However, there are some differences as a result of this change.  In particular, Governance Standard 5, unlike the Corporations Act, imposes the obligation on the charity to ensure that directors know and are subject to these duties, rather than on the directors.  As well, Governance Standard 5 applies only in relation to directors and not in relation to other officers (such as secretaries).

Criminal offences under the Corporations Act relating to breaches of the duties to act in good faith and not to misuse one’s position or information continue to apply.  The duty to prevent insolvent trading will also continue to apply, although this duty is also included under Governance Standard 5.

For more specific information on any of the material contained in this article, please contact Johanna Churchill on 8210 1236 or jchurchill@normans.com.au.


article image

Labour market testing for 457 visa sponsors

From 23 November 2013 onwards, employers wishing to sponsor an overseas employee under the temporary 457 visa scheme will have to undertake Labour Market Testing (LMT) within 12 months before lodging the nomination application.

What is LMT?

LMT is a means by which employers demonstrate that no suitably qualified and experienced Australian citizen, permanent residents and eligible temporary visa holders (those holding 417 Working Holiday visas or 462 Work and Holiday visas to be employed in the agricultural sector) are available to fill the nominated position and therefore the position may be offered to an overseas employee.

Unless exempted, it is mandatory for the sponsor to provide with the nomination application information on the sponsor’s attempts at recruiting from the local labour market, including details of advertisements of the position placed by the sponsor in relevant media.  If the sponsor has retrenched or made redundant Australian citizens or permanent residents in the four months prior to the nomination application, information about such redundancies and retrenchments must also be provided.

The sponsor may also provide information regarding its participation in relevant job and career expositions and copies of any researches released in the previous four months relating to labour market trends. 

Exemptions

An approved sponsor will be exempted from the requirement to provide LMT evidence in the following circumstances:

Major disasters

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection may grant a LMT exemption to assist disaster relief or discovery consequent upon the occurrence of a major disaster.

Exemptions based on occupations

With the exception of engineering (including shipping engineering) and nursing positions, exemption from LMT applies:

  • where the nominated position is an ANZSCO Skill Level 1 occupation which requires the nominee to have a relevant bachelor degree or higher and/or five years or more of relevant experience; and
  • where the nominated position is an ANZSCO Skill Level 2 occupation which requires the nominee to have a relevant associate degree, advance diploma or diploma covered by the AQF and/or three years or more of relevant experience.

International trade obligations

An approved sponsor is exempted from LMT if it is in conflict with Australia's international trade obligations under the following circumstances:

  • The worker is a citizen of Chile, Thailand or a citizen/permanent resident of New Zealand; or
  • The worker is a current employee of a business that is an associated entity of the sponsor’s business and is located in an association of a South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) country, Chile or New Zealand; or
  • The worker is a current employee of an associated entity of the sponsor’s business which operates in a country that is a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), where the nominated occupation is an “Executive or Senior Manager ” position and the nominee will be responsible for the entire or a substantial part of the sponsor’s operations in Australia; or
  • The worker is a citizen of a WTO member country and has worked for the sponsor in Australia on a full-time basis for the last two years; or
  • The sponsor currently operates in a WTO member country and is seeking to establish a business in Australia, where the nominated occupation is an “Executive or Senior Manager” position.

For more specific information on any of the material contained in this article please contact Maria Ho on (08) 8210 1274 or mho@normans.com.au or Angela Wang on (08) 8210 1212 or awang@normans.com.au


© Norman Waterhouse 2012. All Rights Reserved. You may not reproduce all or any part of this newsletter without our prior consent.
We respect your right to privacy. You can view our Privacy Information Notice on our website and our Privacy Policy is available
on request from our Privacy Officer at privacy@normans.com.au
The contents of this newsletter are for information only and
should not be taken as advice on the law

 

Forward this issue

Do you know someone who might be interested in receiving this monthly newsletter?

Forward

Unsubscribe

You're receiving this newsletter because you signed up on the Norman Waterhouse website or you signed the Normans terms of engagement.

Unsubscribe

Contact us

Level 15, 45 Pirie St
Adelaide SA 5000
+ 61 8 8210 1200
www.normans.com.au
normans@normans.com.au


You're receiving this newsletter because you signed up at normans.com.au or you signed the Normans terms of engagement.
Having trouble reading this email? View it in your browser. Not interested anymore? Unsubscribe Instantly.