OFAC revokes so-called U-turn authorization for Cuba-related financial transactions
OFAC published a final rule that modifies the Cuban Assets Control Regulations to revoke the so-called "U-turn" authorization.
Disruption is here to stay, and smart businesses in Australia are adopting organisational redesign as a good habit, rather than saving it as a last resort. Swiftly changing customer preferences, coupled with geographically mobile talent and an ever-present focus on tightening the belt, make flexible resourcing and remuneration strategies a must for organisations seeking to thrive, rather than merely survive.
Our employment and labour legal experts have taken a look at the macro trends currently affecting businesses. Here is their take on the do’s and don’ts of organisational redesign, flexible working and the digital workplace.
Organisational redesign has a bad reputation. Ever since the ‘80s the phrase has been closely associated with restructuring, bonus cuts and lay-offs, and gives chills to employees and employers alike. It’s time to start viewing organisational redesign as a part of a company’s fitness routine, rather than a crash diet.
Agility is key to thriving in a volatile and complex global landscape, and it can only be achieved through an organisational structure that can flex at will, with a lean core to which capacity can be added as required. Here are a few points that companies should keep in mind when designing a lean organisational model reliant on flexible resourcing and reasonable cost control:
|From a legal perspective: attention should be given to creating a framework for remuneration, leave entitlements and career management opportunities that not only fosters equality amongst the workforce, but allows companies to exercise their discretion as needed. A well-designed contractual framework can save companies a lot of trouble down the line, especially when it comes to the risk of employee litigation on the basis of workplace discrimination, and the potential liability associated with such claims.|
|From a legal perspective: the majority of risks related to engaging external contractors are connected to potential misclassification in status of employees and contractors. This can be mitigated by clearly defining roles outsourced to contractors, as well as by considering the level of control given to these external contributors, which are factors that may be taken into account in determining whether the relationship is in fact one of employment, and then triggering an employer’s duty of care and their legal and financial liabilities including paid leave, superannuation and workers’ compensation. Our proprietary online tool, ContractorCheck assists companies to determine contractor versus employee status, and manage the risk of misclassification across their workforce.|
|From a legal perspective: companies should pay particular attention to the human rights track record of their subcontractors, as well as to their geographical exposure in terms of social, political and environmental risks. While most countries have specific regulation related to human rights, the United States presents an added challenge: the joint-employer status rejected so far in Australia. Companies with US exposure should consider their liability for labour violations committed by their contractors across the world, and take the necessary risk mitigation measures during the procurement and contracting process.|
From a legal perspective: while the ‘open source’ model remains viable, to avoid legal action a few steps must be taken. First of all, the aspects of control, autonomy and exclusivity are relevant, with the issue arising of whether individuals should be classified as independent contractors or employees. Secondly, the ‘connected work market’ presents a host of technology, intellectual property and privacy-related risks which should be considered before accessing independent talent.
Employers and employees alike have been pondering this dilemma ever since mobile phones came about. However, with technology integrating all of life’s aspects, and business operating not only around the world, but also around the clock, boundaries between private and professional time are blurring.
Several risks are associated with the mismanagement of this emerging phenomenon of the ubiquitous workplace:
|From a legal perspective: Australian legislation places mental health on equal footing with all other aspects of workplace safety, and imposes a duty of care on employers (Source: Australian Human Rights Commission). There are many aspects that are critical to mitigating mental health risk in the workplace including a corporate culture of awareness and prevention, compliance with regulation concerning sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination, as well as a process of reporting, analysing and responding to incidents. It is important to keep a detailed record of incidents in order to design an escalation process which complements the official policies and mitigates risk effectively. Integrated risk management and compliance training systems such as ecomply enable companies to deliver the necessary compliance training, monitor results, and ultimately protect their people and brand.|
From a legal perspective: in order to properly manage overtime, policy and process must go hand-in-hand. Considered and pragmatic workforce scheduling is critical to minimising overtime required. Leave entitlements are a fundamental aspect of the employment relationship and companies can direct that leave be taken in some circumstances. Attention should be given to promoting work-life balance for employees, thereby prioritising their health and wellbeing and maximising productivity.
An aspect of the digital workplace that keeps many executives awake at night is its constant connection to social media, and the impact this can have on a company's brands, directors’ reputations, and ultimately revenue.
Human error is a leading cause of cyber incidents, and hacktivism is not far behind. However, with the social market (and gossip) place only a tap away, dissatisfied employees do not need coding skills to damage a company’s reputation through individual allegations.
Businesses have several strategies at their disposal to minimise risk, and turn their employees into brand ambassadors:
|From a legal perspective: it is important to not only design a cyber risk policy, but to also ensure regular reviews and stress-tests against the evolving technological landscape. Additionally, training requirements should be mandatory for all staff, and regular health-checks performed to ensure compliance.|
|From a legal perspective: social media policy design and training remain the cornerstone of managing this exposure. Policies should remain flexible so as to maintain currency with the latest social media trends and should be actively used and reviewed. A review of employment contract clauses is also advisable to ensure that employees are required to comply with policies and procedures as a condition of their employment relationship.|
|From a legal perspective: many organisations choose to develop specific processes and channels to enable whistleblowing, and promote an organisational culture of transparency, particularly when present in certain jurisdictions. Another option to gauge workforce engagement, and spot potential issues, is an annual employee satisfaction survey complemented by specific mitigation plans ranging from individual coaching to process redesign. A dynamic approach to monitoring workplace satisfaction is critical as early detection is the best way to minimise the disruptive effect on the broader workplace. A happy, settled workforce also lowers the risk of employee claims, such as workers’ compensation, discrimination, harassment and bullying claims and unfair dismissal on termination, and thus protects the company from potential legal, financial and reputational damage.|
Simple measures can help companies achieve their organisational redesign goals while maintaining full compliance with legislation, and managing risks smartly.
On 5 September 2019, Professor John McMillan AO’s Final Report (Report) on the operation of the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 (ND Act) was tabled in Parliament. Section 26A of the ND Act required the Minster to cause a review of the operation of the ND Act to be undertaken.