Paying staff is a tricky task. Headlines throughout 2016 have shown it is often too tricky. Fronting a tribunal and telling them you ‘didn’t know’ is no longer an excuse.
Significant fines were recently imposed against a 7-Eleven franchisor Mai Pty Ltd and its director ($340,290 and $68,058 respectively) for systematically underpaying employees and concealing more than $82,000 in underpayments from Fair Work investigators.
A single breach of the Fair Work Act attract penalties of up to $54,000 for a body corporate and $10,800 for an individual per breach. Micro-enterprises (1-4 employees) are the most common form of employer and these fines would be potentially crippling.
Balancing strategic business goals and meeting regulatory requirements is a challenge faced by all businesses. The legislation governing employee remuneration is complex, with more than 120 modern awards and a range of industry and company-specific agreements to comply with.
Australian workforces are also changing; the workplace is becoming more casual, flexible working arrangements are more common and the traditional places for employment are evolving. Employers need to pay employees properly regardless of how, when and where employees work.
Close enough is not acceptable and the Government is getting serious. Both major political parties have shown support for increased Fair Work funding and powers, and increased corporate responsibility. The Labor Party endorsed creating a criminal offence for intentional or reckless contraventions of the Fair Work Act as part of its election campaign.
In June 2016 Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James released an open letter warning companies and their directors that ‘escape routes of sending a company into liquidation to avoid penalties and having to back-pay workers…are now being shut down’.
Two solutions present themselves – either become an employment law expert or find a tool or service that does it for you. Most employers don’t have the time to pour over awards and agreements and calculate shift allowances. What they are looking for is a system that does it form them.
foundU has the solution with its People Organisation Platform (POP), which allows you to immediately determine whether your payments are compliant. Automatically generate a payroll that considers every award and condition every staff member has worked under for every shift helps businesses pay staff properly.