We're on a Mission...
To keep young people safe at work
Our multi-stakeholder approach seeks to increase community awareness, develop student/graduate HR-based knowledge and provide accessible HR support to address work-related issues students/grads face.
By normalising basic HR literacy and the habit of standing up for work rights, we can create a culture of shared accountability, constructive conflict and ultimately better outcomes for businesses, individuals and society combined.
We have based our activities off the recommendations made by the Respect@Work inquiry, which looked to address sexual harassment in the workplace. We support these recommendations and believe they apply equally for the matter of underpayments and other workplace issues. The three of the recommendations we are following are:
- Primary prevention through education, media and community wide initiatives.
- Better workplace prevention and response which is leader-driven, victim centred, practical and adaptable.
- Better support, advice and advocacy for people experiencing workplace issues.
To do this, we need your help! Schools and Universities, click here to find out more.
In the meantime, follow Ella on TikTok for free HR tips and tricks.
THE REASON BEHIND THE CAUSE:
One of the key drivers to starting my company, was in response to my friend being sexually harassed at work, and seeing the impact this had on her mental health. The more I spoke to students and recent grads, the more stories like this I heard. This didn't sit well with me;
- it was apparent that young people didn't understand their rights or that they could do something about it.
- "I thought this happened to everyone?", "I'm just a grad", "I'm on the 'international student wage'".
This is where it started and this is why it's our purpose to create strong, supported and strategic careers in psychologically safe workplaces.
THE PROBLEM WE ARE FACING:
1. People are being sexually harassed, underpaid and subject to unfair work practices in Australia.
Sexual harassment, underpayments and unfair work practices are happening too frequently, right across the country. Recent movements, particularly in the sexual harassment context, have encouraged people to speak out and society to step up, to eradicate such behaviour.
Young people are also more vulnerable to underpayments and unfair work arrangements, costing them in both take home pay, Superannuation and related stress.
2. Young People are less likely to have the knowledge and confidence to identify incorrect workplace behaviours and processes.
Most young people who are new to the workforce, and sometimes even new to Australia, have little work experience and knowledge to compare workplace practices to. They're just happy to have a job.
They do not know how to check if they are being paid correctly or where to go for help, and they place full trust in their Employer. This puts our students and graduates in a vulnerable position.
I recently asked a group of 120 students the following questions:
- "Who has a job?" Approximately 50% put their hand down.
- "Who had an employment contract?" Approximately 25% put their hand down.
- "Who read their contract before they signed it?" There were less than 10 hands up now.
- "Who understood what they read before they signed it?" One hand remained.
3. Sexual harassment, underpayments and unfair work practices undermine mental health and economic independence.
Arguably the two biggest factors in leading healthy and sustainable lives are mental health and economic independence. These factors need to be a priority when it comes to setting our youth up for success - no matter what 'success' looks like for them. These issues are not only costing people their futures and putting them in unsafe situations, but they cost the Australian economy billions of dollars each year. From a business perspective, this includes unproductivity, absenteeism, stress-related Workers Compensation claims and more. From a societal level, this includes an over-reliance on welfare and the health system. In connection to our charity partner, Worthy Australia, economic independence is also the leading factor supporting women to leave homes of domestic violence and preventing homelessness.
THE STATS & FACTS:
- $148 million in underpayments was recovered in the 2020/21 financial year (Fair Work Ombudsman).
- 72% of Australians over 15 have been sexually harassed (Australian Human Rights Commission).
- Over 75% of mental health problems occur before the age of 25 (Beyond Blue).
- 9 in 10 young people (aged 15-24) are engaged in education and/or employment (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare).
- 69% of people stated stressful jobs caused their depression/anxiety (Beyond Blue).
- Covid-19 has added additional challenges obtaining and maintaining work, and employees are more likely to 'put up with' poor conditions out of the need to earn a livelihood (Upskilled; Employii).
And there's plenty more!