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The 5 most common compliance issues in Australian workplaces

Whether it’s on the news, in the newspapers or across social media, it seems we just can’t avoid hearing about non-compliance and wage underpayment scandals. It’s not just the major corporate giants getting found out either, Fair Work has a section on their website dedicated to naming and shaming non-compliant employers of all sizes.

Most of the time, employers’ intentions are in the right place. Businesses may simply not have a robust system in place with built-in compliance checks and risk management procedures. Some of the time, it could be a simple administrative error that leads to a breach of their employer obligations.

Regardless of the situation, non-compliance happens, and it has big consequences. Roubler recently collaborated with Tarsha Gavin from leading law firm Allens to host a free compliance masterclass.

Here are five of the most common compliance issues in Australian workplaces, with some helpful tips on how you can avoid falling victim to them:

Incorrect award coverage and classification 

Award classification is the first step towards paying your employees correctly and compliantly. It refers to the modern award you assign to each employee, which determines the entitlements your employee will be eligible for.

A common mistake employers make is classifying all their employees under the same modern award. It is not unusual to have staff within the same business classified under multiple awards.

Top tip: Employers need to consider each employee and their award on an individual basis. This should be regularly reviewed as they gain experience and move through classifications. Roubler’s team can help with this during the implementation process.

Annualised salaries

In March 2020, The Fair Work Commission introduced annualised salary provisions into many modern awards. As part of these changes, employers need to ensure compliance by conducting an annual reconciliation to prove their employees’ annual wage isn’t less than what they would’ve been paid over the year if they were paid all their award entitlements for their work.

Top tip: Roubler has a built-in annualisation feature. This enables you to perform an annual reconciliation for salaried employees in seconds.

Overtime and rostering rules

Depending on which modern award your employee falls under, there are specific criteria for how many hours can be worked and how many breaks are required before overtime is applied. Losing visibility over the hour’s staff are working when they swap shifts with colleagues is one of the most common mistakes which catches employers out. This can often result in an employee working outside of their ordinary or agreed hours and make them entitled to overtime.

Top tip: Roubler’s rostering functionality is built with modern award interpretation. This means non-compliance instances are flagged at the time of building a roster. Likewise, shift swaps and roster edits are processed via the mobile app where compliance breaches are flagged, and management signoff is required.


Allowances refer to payments made in addition to the base pay of an employee. This includes paying higher duties, travel cost reimbursements, overtime meal allowances and more depending on the modern award an employee falls under. Due to the event-based nature of allowances, it can be extremely difficult for managers to monitor and track the entitlements their employees are owed.

Top tip: Roubler’s smart roster feature allows managers to populate predefined templates to ensure required roles are filled for every shift. This helps counteract the need for an employee to work higher duties, by populating the shift with a person who would normally perform that role. Rostering through Roubler is also flexible, allowing managers to change the role of an individual for a specific shift to ensure they are paid higher duties as needed. The built-in award interpretation feature also automatically recognises when an employee is entitled to an allowance (such as an overtime meal allowance) and applies it to their pay.


Not complying with adequate break provisions is one of the most common compliance traps employers can fall into. Depending on the award that applies, employees might need to take a break during a shift or have a gap of a certain number of hours between shifts.

Non-compliance can have serious consequences; for example, the General Retail Industry Award (GRIA), requires employees to have a minimum break of 12 hours between shifts. If an employer fails to provide this, they must pay the employee 200% of their standard hourly rate until they have a break of 12 consecutive hours. 

Top tip: Roubler’s award interpretation and smart rostering will alert managers if they are trying to roster an employee without the required break in between or during shifts.

If you would like to find out more tips and tricks on compliance and how Roubler is working with Fair Work to help businesses ensure they can remain compliant through software and automation, please download our free whitepaper The ultimate guide to simplifying rostering and compliance.

Samantha Hill
Samantha Hill
Samantha Hill is a writer with a passion for making a positive impact online through words. Over the past four years, Samantha has worked with an array of different companies to deliver written content that communicates what their business means to their audience. Since joining Roubler in 2020, Samantha’s focus is on creating engaging content that informs business leaders of the latest skills, strategies, and techniques to help get the best out of their teams.
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