This post is an important and urgent one for all employers to read and to be aware of the nature and impact of the Fair Work Act Amendment (protecting vulnerable workers) Bill 2017
Not that I think any of my clients are doing or would do the wrong thing. Not that I think the vast majority of employers would do the wrong thing. There is no way anyone can say that “all” employers are good when you read of cases of serial and ongoing underpayment, even after a visit and order from Fair Work. Fortunately these outliers are few and far between although they and their actions have far reaching impact.
Fundamentally the changes and their impacts are outlined in this excellent summary from Thomson Geer (co-written by Paul Ronfeldt, a respected colleague of mine)
HR Managers and employers MUST be aware that there are significant increases to fines in terms of size and scope.
There are two key immediate actions to take
First is to ensure that payroll/time and wage records meet the requirements of the Fair Work Act and Regulations AND show correct application of all appropriate industrial instruments
Next is to have appropriate arrangements in place to capture underpayment or similar complaints and have appropriate senior managers act on them promptly.
Compliance is now a serious matter to be able to prove to Fair Work.
It’s also on the news agenda for the national professional body for HR professionals (including me) and here is their good summative article.
It captures the essential points:
- Higher penalties for serious contravention
- Direct liability of franchisors (think about recent cases with 7-11
- Tighter focus on record keeping
- Close watch on employee wage deductions
Check those records and processes!