Fair Work Amendment for Vulnerable Workers Officially In Effect
New legislation from the Fair Work Ombudsman has officially come into effect after passing the Parliament. From September 15, the Fair Work Act amendment – as detailed in our previous post here – applies to all workplaces covered by the Fair Work Act, but are particularly important for franchisors and holding companies. There are now higher penalties for serious breaches of workplace law and poor record-keeping. Liability for franchise and subsidiary networks has also been extended.
It is now crucial for all businesses to optimise rostering, time and attendance, and payroll systems, as well as ensure accurate and correct onboarding of new workers.
Payroll, rostering and record-keeping the focus for employers
Payslips, rostering systems and record-keeping need to be the big focus for employers. In particular, payslips need to contain certain compulsory information, including:
- Employers name and ABN
- The pay period, gross and net pay, and the date of payment
- The ordinary hourly rate, the hours worked at that rate, and the total dollar amount for that work
- Any loadings, allowances, bonuses, incentive-based payments, penalty rates, or other paid entitlements
- The applicable pay rate on the last day of employment
- Any deductions from the employee’s pay, as well as superannuation contributions
The Fair Work Ombudsman recommends leave balances should be shown on payslips, and that payslips must be issued within one day of payment. Infringement notices can be issued for breaches, with penalties up to $6300.
Records of time and wages also need to be kept for seven years and be readily available for inspection. It is more important than ever for every business to ensure reliable and consistent payroll, and time and attendance systems are in place.
New penalties also apply for people giving false or misleading information and documents. Employers can be ordered to pay:
- penalties for false or misleading payslips
- double the previous maximum penalty for failing to keep employee records or issue pay slips
- triple the previous maximum penalty for knowingly making or keeping false or misleading employee records.
Businesses failing to keep track of scheduling, attendance, and payroll are now at an increased risk of breaching the new legislative requirements as per the Fair Work Act amendment.
Franchisors and holding companies under the microscope
Franchisors and holding companies are also targeted in new Fair Work Act amendment, with new responsibilities taking effect on October 27. They now face infringements if franchisees or subsidiaries are not following workplace law and do not take reasonable steps to prevent it. Employing HR software with payroll systems is the easiest way to show that you have taken steps to pay the right wage. This includes controversial cashback schemes. Cashback schemes see employees told to pay money to get or keep a job. A NSW business was fined more than half a million dollars for operating a cashback scheme in 2017.
The latest changes require businesses to disprove allegations, rather than for prosecutors to prove them. Fines have also increased for serious breaches.
Fair Work offers advice for vulnerable employees
The new legislation is aimed at helping vulnerable employees from problems with their pay and work requirements. The Fair Work Ombudsman recommends keeping a line of communication open with the employer to attempt to mutually agree on a solution. If this communication breaks down, the Fair Work Commission offers services and advice for both parties. This can include mediation, as well as information and resources on workplace law.
Now is the time for all businesses to be checking their onboarding and payroll systems, as well as time and attendance and rostering to ensure accurate and consistent record-keeping and payment. Roubler provides full award interpretation backed by a fully integrated and managed payroll platform, ensuring full compliance is achieved every pay run. Roubler keeps on top of all changes to award structures to alleviate that burden from you. If you would like to know how we can help your business stay compliant with this Fair Work Act Amendment, feel free to get in contact today.