In an address at the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia National Small Business Summit, Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said an amended compliance and enforcement policy will now see the regulator issue more compliance notices than ever before.
A compliance notice is a notice issued by a Fair Work Inspector which requires an employer to fix a breach of an Australian workplace law.
If an employer doesn’t comply with a compliance notice, the FWO can take them to court and seek a penalty against the business.
“We will be using statutory compliance notices a lot more than we have before,” Ms Parker said.
“They are not an admission of guilt; they provide an opportunity for a business to be educated, to rectify the underpayment and no further action will be taken by us.
“However, if the business doesn’t comply, we will give them a warning and an opportunity to offer a reasonable excuse. They can go to court to challenge the compliance notice, but we will also take them to court if they don’t comply and we will seek a penalty.”
Ms Parker said her agency has also seen a spike in larger employers coming forward with historical large underpayment of wages and super.
“We’re going to be working with them and requiring evidence that they have got the underpayment right in terms of working out what needs to be paid back; we’ll be requiring them to sign on, as a minimum, a court enforceable undertaking; we’ll require external audits over a number of years to verify that they now have their house in order and that all the money is paid back with interest, including superannuation,” Ms Parker said.