As part of its compliance and education campaign, the FWO audited the time and wages record of 626 businesses across towns including Port Macquarie and Taree in the mid-north coast and Coonabarabran, Dubbo, Gloucester, Gunnedah, Moree, Narrabri and Wellington in the mid-western region, with 48 per cent failing to fully comply with workplace laws.
In the mid-north coast region, a quarter of businesses were found to have poor bookkeeping practices, while 23 per cent of businesses in the mid-western region were non-compliant.
In one matter, a retail business was issued with two infringement notices after a Fair Work inspector discovered that the employer did not issue pay slips, was not keeping adequate records of the hours worked by employees, and had insufficient records of workers’ employment entitlements, such as leave accruals. The employer had also underpaid all five casual employees their hourly rates of pay.
The employer was provided information on their workplace obligations and agreed to back-pay $4000 owed to their workers.
The mid-western campaign also led to the signing of an Enforceable Undertaking between the FWO and Soul Food Design Depot and Gallery Pty Ltd, which resulted in the recovery of $22,724.60 for 24 underpaid restaurant workers in Narromine, and a commitment from the company to commission professional audits of its workplace records over the next two years.
FWO Natalie James has reminded businesses of the wide range of tools and resources, including its new Small Business Showcase, available to them while bookkeepers have been advised to reach out to clients and inform them of increased penalties related to record-keeping and payslip breaches.
“It is just not good enough that almost half of the businesses in these regions were found to be non-compliant with workplace laws when there is so much information freely available,” said Ms James.
“Businesses must be aware that recent legislative changes mean that penalties for serious breaches, as well as those for record keeping and payslip breaches, have significantly increased.
“All businesses in Australia have a responsibility to be informed about their workplace obligations, and my agency will not hesitate to take action in response to serious and deliberate cases of non-compliance.”
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.