Health & Aged Care

At FCB Group we provide industrial relations and workforce management support to health and aged care providers and organisations.

The health and aged care industry in Australia is undergoing tremendous growth, driven by both an ageing population and rapid advances in clinical treatment options. In addition, the industry faces a range of disruptions, such as frequent regulatory and funding changes, ongoing skills shortages and development of new models of care. This makes the industry not only incredibly challenging, but exciting.

How FCB Group can help organisations and businesses operating in the health and aged care sectors

Our team of health and aged care lawyers and workplace relations consultants has been providing support to the industry for many years, with a number of our team having worked directly within care organisations and/or industry associations.

As a result, we know that the healthcare workforce is complex and poses a range of specific challenges for people managers. We also understand that the constant changes place additional pressure on compliance, cultural and workforce development strategies.

Recruitment and hiring

When stakes are high, it is essential to hire the right people for the job. Health workers need to be competent, caring, trustworthy, tolerant and resilient. Selecting the wrong staff can undermine both public confidence and professional reputations.

We help organisations with a range of pre-hiring and on-boarding processes, including:

  • Designing robust, non-discriminatory job descriptions and recruitment systems
  • Obtaining visas for overseas-trained workers through our migration services business, FCB Smart Visa
  • Implementing and automating appropriate contracting and employment documentation (e.g. contracts that allow for ongoing monitoring of key conditions, such as Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency registrations, professional competence, and physical and mental fitness for work)
  • Conducting pre-employment psychological testing, and assisting with or advising on induction and on-boarding processes.

Organisational change and restructuring

Public policy, consumer demand, Consumer Directed Care, and funding pressures are just some of the factors within the industry that are driving organisational restructures, service consolidation and job redesign.

In this context, our most frequently employed services include:

  • Restructuring, redeployment and retrenchment strategies and support, including designing appropriate hiring/contracting models
  • Workforce outsourcing/insourcing processes and strategies, including in conjunction with the privatisation of services
  • Assisting with mergers and acquisitions, and transfer of employment, including advising on the implications for redundancy liabilities and industrial instrument coverage
  • Compliant and effective workforce consultation, transition and engagement strategies during periods of change.

Management of ill and injured workers

The healthcare workforce is ageing, stressed and selfless. The work they do is often physically and mentally demanding, and many tend to put others’ health needs before their own. At the same time, unfit employees can put the care of patients and residents at risk, and employers frequently need to make complex legal, commercial and ethical choices between the competing needs of staff and clients.

Most frequently, we assist in the management of ill and injured workers through:

  • Coaching and supporting people managers through the complex legal framework, including discrimination and workers compensation laws
  • Developing robust systems for assessing fitness and mental health fairly and lawfully
  • Implementing proactive wellbeing and rehabilitation strategies
  • Supporting employers through disputes and litigation initiated by ill or injured workers.

Investigations and people management

One of the greatest investments in developing overall workforce capacity and productivity is ensuring that your organisation’s people managers have the skills, confidence and support they need to engage, trust, support and, when needed, discipline their staff proactively and effectively.

We help health and aged care employers to:

  • Train managers in legal and practical people management strategies and skills
  • Conduct or outsource robust and, where appropriate, privileged investigations in response to safety and disciplinary issues
  • Adopt best-practice, legally compliant and practically risk-managed processes whenever coaching/assessing, counselling, disciplining or dismissing employees
  • Support managers through disputes and litigation initiated by disgruntled staff

Enterprise agreements and bargaining

The health workforce is highly unionised, with most employers covered by enterprise agreements and/or union side deals.

We have particular expertise in assisting health and aged care employers to:

  • Interpret and ensure compliance with complex and often limiting pattern instruments
  • Strategically assess and, if appropriate, apply to change their enterprise agreement coverage as part of business acquisition/outsourcing/insourcing projects
  • Conduct and manage enterprise bargaining, industrial action and union disputes
  • Plan and design bargaining strategies that focus on productivity and innovation improvements.

Our clients

We advise and act for a range of businesses and organisations operating in the health and aged care sectors, including:

  • Hospitals and private clinics
  • Nursing services and agencies
  • General practice, pathology, dental and allied health services.
  • Residential aged care and community care providers
  • Retirement village operators
  • Professional colleges and industry associations
  • Health training providers
  • Primary health networks and other non-government organisations
  • Health promotion charities, research and advocacy bodies
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturers and retailers.

Would you like to find out more?

If you would like to find out more about how we can help you with your workplace relations issues, please call us on (02) 9922 5188.

Alternatively please contact Jessica Fisher, our leading Partner in the FCB aged care team: