On 11 April, The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) announced an audit of 1000 businesses across Australia as part of a new campaign to ensure employers are complying with workplace obligations.
This year’s audit follows FWO’s 2017 campaign where Fair Work Inspectors conducted audits of 1600 retail, hair and beauty salons businesses in randomly selected areas of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
The industries and areas of focus for the 2018 Fair Work Ombudsman’s Workplace Basics Campaign have been selected by analysis of data obtained from FWO intelligence reports which have identified hotspots of concern. One source of data is FWO’s Anonymous Report tool – an online facility allowing members of the community to submit anonymous information alleging potential workplace breaches. Since the launch of the tool in mid-2016, the regulator has received more than 20,000 tip-offs.
Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Kristen Hannah says successive campaigns conducted by the Fair Work Ombudsman are finding that too many businesses were getting the basics wrong. “Failures to pay correct base hourly, penalty and overtime rates and inadequate or non-existent record-keeping and pay-slips are some of the breaches we consistently see from employers,” Ms Hannah says.
“If a business cannot get the basic requirements right, then there’s going to be a whole host of problems down the track for the workers and also the employer.”
Changes made by the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017 mean companies involved in serious contraventions now face penalties of up to $630,000 per contravention. The maximum penalties for individuals are now $126,000 per contravention.
The Act also doubled the maximum penalty for failing to keep employee records or issue pay slips to $63,000 for a company and $12,600 for an individual and tripled the maximum penalty for knowingly making or keeping false or misleading employee records to $12,600 for an individual.
A reverse onus of proof can also now apply, meaning that employers who don’t meet record-keeping or pay slip obligations and can’t give a reasonable excuse will need to disprove allegations of underpayments made in a court.
For any business owner, knowing what you need to know around employment compliance can be a challenge. You’re an expert in your business…how can you also be expected to know everything when it comes to a Fair Work audit?
That’s where Bare Bones Consulting can help. We’re experts in HR so you don’t have to be. We can help manage your HR compliance obligations as well as showing you how to get the best from your people. When your employees are engaged and know they can approach their employer with their concerns, they’re less likely to take the option of lodging a complaint through a third party.
Why not give us a call today? We’ll show you where to start, what you need and how to do it. And we’ll do it in a way that makes sense so you can focus on what you do best. A smart starting point is our HR Compliance & Risk Management page.
Give Bare Bones Consulting a call to discuss our range of HR services to help your business succeed.
Even if you elect to not proceed after our first complimentary consultation you’ll be in a better position to know what’s possible.
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