Top HR challenges in managing tradies

The construction industry has a big dependence on casual labour and with that also comes strict legislation. There are four main HR challenges for employers.

Trades based businesses have a considerable dependence on casual labour, and with that also comes strict legislation and safety regulations. At Positive HR, we are heavily involved with Tradie Wives and have a strong portfolio of clients that operate across various trade industries. Over the years, we have found some common HR challenges for employers that we want to break down today. 

Engagement of flexible workers

Let’s focus on the construction industry for a moment. There is a huge need to hire flexible workers in the construction industry, due to most of the work being project-based with varying timelines. We find employers want the commitment of a permanent employee but with the flexibility of a casual employee. This unique relationship creates several issues for both parties.

As an employer, you should be concerned about this issue. Permanent employees, casuals and contractors via labour-hire companies all have very different entitlements. 

You must make sure you have defined the employment relationship correctly, the risk of underpayments (wage theft) could exist if you don't. If you need help defining which employment relationship is best for the circumstances, please get in touch with our team

A culture of safety first is a must

Given the number of hazards, Safety is always a major concern for employers in the construction industry. Do your tradies have the right industry cards such as a white or green card? Or the right qualifications? Can you prove that all of your employees know how to operate their tools safely? What measures are implemented to ensure employees can work safely at heights or in confined spaces?

It is essential for employers of tradies to continually review, train and document safe practices for workers to ensure a safe working place. This can all help mitigate the risk against any worker’s compensation claims and investigations from WorkSafe.

Safety documentation should be implemented and up-to-date including all relevant work health safety policies, processes for recording incidents and near-miss incidents, conducting regular reviews and ensuring communication is continuous with employees.

Industry-specific schemes

Our clients in the construction industry regularly raise two industry-specific challenges:

  • Construction specific redundancy payouts may apply when terminating the employment relationship with workers, even if no actual redundancy has occurred. To help manage this business expense, there are a few funds businesses can consider to assist in planning for this cost in the event it should arise. 

  • There may be a requirement to contribute to a state-based long service leave scheme. In some cases, construction employers are legally obliged to register their employees. Positive HR can help you meet these obligations should you after conducting a full review of your business practices.

Enterprise Agreements

Enterprise Agreements are quite common in the construction industry. This may be requested before sending employees on to specific worksites. 

Compliance with the Building Code of 2016 is a requirement for some projects. Construction firms who are operating under Enterprise Agreements should be mindful of this. Businesses need to be aware of their obligations in this area to ensure effective communication with all parties on site. 

If you need further advice about Enterprise Agreements, please be sure to contact us for HR advice tailored to your business.

There are unique challenges in the construction industry, and they keep us on our toes. But we’re passionate about helping you succeed in your business and getting the right HR assistance.

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