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Masks And The New “Normal“ – What Does That Mean For You As An Employer?

Workplace health and safety should always be a concern for businesses, particularly during the current situation that many are facing. A well-fitted, clean and correctly functioning face mask is essential to assist in minimising the spread of COVID-19. As an employer, you want to make sure that your staff are protected while performing their duties – and a facemask may be the protection that they need.

Is Wearing A Mask Mandatory?

Different states or territories may have different rules about wearing face masks at work, depending on whether there is an enforceable government or public health directive that may be applicable. As an employer or business owner, you will need to check to see if those directions are applicable to your business.

Failure to comply with any requirements in place may result in you being held legally accountable and liable for failing to fulfil health and safety obligations as an employer, particularly if in doing so you put your employees’ health at risk.

As an employer, protecting the health and safety of your workers is a legal requirement that you must oblige by. Under certain industry legislation and public health orders, your business may be legally required to provide your workers with masks and for those workers to use masks to prevent transmission of respiratory infections.

If the wearing of face masks is mandatory in your workplace or business (such as for those involved in hospitality venues in certain states) you need to ensure that it is communicated clearly to your employees. There should also be a clean supply of face masks in the workplace for them to use, and that they are properly informed of how to use, store, decontaminate and dispose of them safely. If an employee’s mask becomes unusable during work-related travel, you may reimburse them for the cost of purchasing new protect (but make sure that they keep receipts and records of the purchase).

What If My Employee Is Refusing To Wear A Mask?

There might be a number of reasons why an employee may not be able to or is refusing to wear a mask. First of all, it’s important to hold an honest and open discussion with any employees that are refusing to find out exactly what is preventing them from wearing a mask.

If there is a valid medical condition, illness or disability that is preventing them from wearing a mask, this can be examined on a case-by-case analysis but should be discussed with experts for alternatives. If a valid reason is provided, alternative duties for the employee should be investigated (such as work from home).

If working from home is not an option, you may be able to agree with the employee to take any accrued annual or long service leave, or leave without pay while you investigate alternative options for the employee’s ongoing employment.

Employers need to balance these refusals with an employee’s anti-discrimination, unfair dismissals and general protections, while ensuring that the refusal does not cause the business to breach health and safety and public health directives.

If you’re someone who often finds it difficult to make large lump sum payments for goods or services, you may want to consider looking into “Buy Now Pay Later” services.

Buy now pay later essentially means that, rather than paying in a full lump sum payment for a product or services rendered, there may be an option to pay through instalments of a certain amount over a set period to make the sum of the full amount in total. This method should allow you to pay in full for the product or service without overly straining your finances – you pay back what you can, as agreed upon when you begin the buy now pay later service.

Some popular buy now pay later services include Afterpay, Zip Pay, Brightepay, and some credit card networks such as  Mastercard and Visa, can offer buy now pay later arrangements.

Though it can be a convenient, immediate solution, it may be challenging to juggle the necessary repayments with other financial commitments. It’s not always the most appropriate method for people, and you should bear in mind your situation and ability in paying back the amounts. 

Before you sign up, keep in mind: 

  • It becomes easier to overspend with buy now pay later services, so know your limits on what you can and can’t afford.
  • You will be charged fees and costs to use the service, which can add up to a princely sum in and of itself.
  • Keeping track of your payments can be tricky if you’ve signed up for multiple services.
  • It could affect your loan applications for a car or mortgage as lenders consider buy now pay later spending just as much as your credit score.
  • Late repayments can appear on your credit report, which affects your ability to borrow money in the future.
  • Layby can be a cheaper alternative to buy now pay later, with no account-keeping or late fees to consider

If you are someone who could make use of BNPL services, you may wish to:

  • Ensure that when using the BNPL service, you stick to a set limit on what you spend so that you can comfortably pay it back later. 
  • Aim only to have one BNPL account at a time to manage payments through, rather than confuse yourself with multiple payments across different providers.
  • Always budget for bills, loan payments and BNPL payments, and 
  • Rather than use your credit card for payments to your BNPL account, consider linking to your debit account instead.

If you would like assistance in planning your financial future, help in managing your budget or some friendly advice, see us for a chat about what we can do for you.

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John Briggs

Jane Noller has been my accountant for the last 15 plus years. I can testify to Jane’s professionalism and expeditious manner in dealing with the day to day issues that surrounds our business accounting.

John Briggs

Registered Building Certifier

David and Alison Parker

I have been consulting J L Noller and Co. (more specifically Jane) for six years and during this time I have found her to be professional, efficient and easy to discuss all accounting and taxation matters with. Her office team are all polite and friendly also.

David and Alison Parker

Business Owner

Carl Gillmore

I have used Jane & the team for the last 6 years for all of my business & personal accounting needs. They have always been professional, easy to talk to & available when we have needed assistance.

Carl Gillmore

Carl Gillmore Landscape

John Briggs

Jane Noller has been my accountant for the last 15 plus years. I can testify to Jane’s professionalism and expeditious manner in dealing with the day to day issues that surrounds our business accounting.

John Briggs

Registered Building Certifier