“It’s important that external advisers ensure they provide correct and lawful advice to clients. External advisers who knowingly participate or are involved in contraventions of workplace laws may be found liable as an accessory to contraventions of the Fair Work Act,” a spokesperson for the FWO stressed to The Bookkeeper.
“In situations where we believe professionals, such as accountants, knowingly facilitate contraventions of workplace laws, we are prepared to hold them to account.
“The Fair Work Ombudsman has litigated four in-house human resources advisers as accessories – along with a number of general, administration and payroll managers. The excuse of ‘I was just following instructions’ has been rejected by the court.”
Despite these moves and warnings, the spokesperson stressed that it is open and willing to engage with the bookkeeping community to ensure a “culture of compliance” with workplace laws.
The FWO pointed to free tools available online, including a Pay and Conditions Tool that can be used to determine the pay rates applicable to their employees, including base pay rates, allowances, overtime and penalty rates.
Templates for pay slips and time-and-wage sheets are available for free download. Information is also available on employers’ responsibilities in relation to leave, managing employees and ending employment.