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Fair Work Ombudsman audit for 600 businesses

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is auditing 600 businesses across Northern NSW to check employers are paying workers correctly and meeting record-keeping and payslip obligations.

Targeted areas for this drive include Lismore, Richmond Valley, Ballina, Byron Bay and Tweed Heads.

Inspectors are auditing businesses across a range of sectors, including accommodation and food services, retail, manufacturing and healthcare and social assistance.

This year’s workplace 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.

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.

Read the Fair Work Ombudsman’s News and Media Release on their latest compliance campaign here.

When you’re not in the HR game it’s challenging to know exactly what you need to comply with your Fair Work Act obligations. That’s where Bare Bones Consulting can help. We can show you what you need for compliance and the checklist tools used by Fair Work Inspectors when conducting a workplace audit of your business. And it’s probably faster, simpler and more cost effective than you think. How good would it feel to have that one crossed off your list?

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Note: Bare Bones Consulting provides HR services for employers. Employees seeking advice on workplace concerns should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.