22 April Buying an agency? You need to understand employee entitlements April 22, 2017 By Reef Admin Employment agreements 0 The sale of a real estate agency is something most business owners will face at some point. Here are some things to be aware of when it comes to employee entitlements. When an agency is sold it's common for the employment of some, if not all, of the employees to be transferred to the new business. As the new employer, the buyer of the agency needs to be aware that many employee entitlements carry over from the old employer. This is because of the “transfer of business” provisions in the Fair Work Act. Transfer of business The Fair Work Act defines a “transfer of business” as any situation where: the employment of an employee of the old employer has been terminated; and within three months of that termination, the employee becomes employed by the new employer; and the work the employee performs for the new employer is the same or substantially the same as the work performed for the old employer; and there is a connection between the old employer and the new employer (for example, there is a transfer of ownership of assets). What's the impact? So how does a transfer of business affect an employee's entitlements? Annual leave Annual leave can be transferred with an employee to the new employer. Alternatively, where the employers are not associated entities, the new employer can decide not to recognise an employee’s previous service. This means the old employer will pay the employee their annual leave entitlement up to the date of the transfer and the employee will then start to accrue a new annual leave entitlement from their date of commencement with the new employer. Personal/carer's leave The new employer must recognise prior service with the old employer. In other words, the new employer needs to accept liability for any personal/carer’s leave the employee has accrued with the old employer. Parental leave An employee’s prior service with the old employer counts towards determining eligibility for unpaid parental leave and their right to request exible work arrangements under federal law. Long-service leave A transferring employee’s long- service leave entitlement will be determined in accordance with the relevant state or territory long-service leave legislation. Generally, service with the old employer is counted as service with the new employer, however advice should be sought based on the agency’s location. Notice of termination Only service with the new employer counts when determining the period of notice of termination that must be given to the employee by the new employer. Unfair dismissal If the new employer wants protection against an unfair dismissal claim by a transferring employee for the statutory minimum employment period,* there must be an expressly written exclusion from recognising previous service with the old employer. This written exclusion must be agreed prior to the employee commencing with the new employer. Where the transferring employee is not advised of the exclusion in writing, their prior service will be recognised for the purpose of calculating the minimum employment period. Redundancy pay Where the employers are not related entities, the new employer can choose whether to recognise the employee’s service with the old employer for the purpose of redundancy entitlements. Employee records The employee records of transferring employees must be transferred to the new employer and kept for seven years in accordance with the record keeping obligations under the Fair Work Act. To find out more, call REEF on 1300 616 170. * The statutory minimum employment period is 12 months for businesses with 14 or fewer employees and six months for other businesses. Related Real Estate Industry Award: Out with the old, in with the new After a long battle, the Fair Work Commission has now finalised the four-year award review and the new Real Estate Industry Award will commence on 2 April 2018. Here's what you need to know before the changes kick in. 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