FWO says intervention led to improved compliance

By Jeff Salton on July 10th, 2017

According to the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), many Australian businesses that were previously found to have contravened workplace laws have reacted positively to the agency’s intervention.

The FWO’s National Compliance Monitoring Campaign followed up with 891 businesses that the agency had previously found to be non-compliant with their workplace obligations. On a positive note, the campaign discovered that 83 per cent of previously non-compliant businesses were now paying their workers correctly, while 81 per cent were complying with record-keeping and pay slip requirements.

However, only 69 per cent of the previously non-compliant businesses were found to be fully compliant.

Room for improvement

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said: “It is important to go back and check that businesses have mended their ways after my agency has found them to be non-compliant. It is clear that after their initial interactions with my agency, most of these businesses have taken our advice on board and put in place systems and processes to ensure they are compliant into the future.”

Ms James said that many small businesses often do not have the benefit of dedicated human resources or payroll teams, meaning that the advice and guidance they receive is vital.

“The positive results of this campaign show that non-compliant businesses are often genuinely trying to do the right thing, but may lack an understanding or awareness of their obligations.”

“It is important for all businesses to be aware of and comply with their workplace obligations,” she said.

Further discoveries

Fair Work Inspectors identified 390 contraventions, primarily relating to pay slip errors, underpayments and failure to apply penalty rates.

In many non-compliance cases, the Ms James said that the businesses had made a genuine effort to comply following the initial intervention by the FWO.

But the FWO had taken enforcement action against 195 businesses in response to significant instances of continued non-compliance uncovered during the audits.

This included a Compliance Notice being issued to a restaurant that underpaid 10 of its employees, even after initially being audited by the FWO for the same breach.

In total, the FWO recovered $207,990 in back-pay for 485 employees from 132 businesses.

“Continued deliberate non-compliance, particularly when a business has previously been audited by my agency, cannot be tolerated,” Ms James said.

“We will be closely monitoring those businesses found to be non-compliant during this campaign to ensure that they are meeting their obligations in the future.”

Help when you need it

Does your business fit into the category of attempting to meet its compliance obligations – trying to do the right thing – but still unsure about what employees should be paid and how to develop good record-keeping protocols?

Managing employee wages in Australia can be complicated. But one thing is clear – all Australian employers must pay their employees an agreed wage. If you pay any less you risk legal action – or at least intervention by the FWO.

That’s why it’s essential for business managers and employers to understand all their wage obligations and the rights of their employees.

The Wages Guide provides a snapshot of current wages legislation in Australia and is a useful guide for anyone in business who needs to pay wages.

In The Wages Guide, you’ll instantly get:

  • answers to the 6 most commonly asked questions about wages;
  • your wage obligations explained in clear, easy-to-understand terms;
  • 2 easy-to-follow flowcharts that will help you determine:
    • exactly what minimum wage applies to your employees;
    • whether they are entitled to overtime, penalties or shift allowances;
  • a simple 3-step guide to help you calculate an annualised salary;
  • and much, much more…

The Wages Guide will help you understand your minimum wage requirements to ensure you avoid costly legal action and achieve the best outcome for your employees and your business.

Get yours today by ordering your copy here.

Related Articles: