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Around 40 per cent of Landcare Victoria Inc.'s (LVI) member groups engage contractors (primarily to deliver on-ground projects), and one in seven employ staff. Landcare staff are vital to support the work of the Landcare community, however managing staff can sometimes be challenging for volunteer committees.
The Victorian Landcare Program Review Action Plan (2016) identified the need to better support Landcare employers and employees. LVI received funding from the Victorian Government, through the Victorian Landcare Program, to engage an independent third-party organisation to provide free employment and workplace-related advice, dispute resolution and referral services for Landcare staff/contractors and their employer organisations.
LVI has engaged Workplace Legal to provide advice on all Landcare employment-related matters until June 2020. In the first three months of calls, the service has advised on employment contracts, appropriate salary ranges, human resource policies and end of employment issues.
The calls have ranged from 10-minute queries to complex matters taking 10 hours. The distinction between contractors and employees (and volunteers) is one of the most common questions posed by Landcarers. The service has also helped groups get ready for new employees and review existing arrangements to ensure best practice.
Landcare staff/contractors and their employer organisations can access advice by calling Workplace Legal on 1300 302 232.