The topic of award wages and fair work agreements is hot on the political agenda right now and Fair Work Australia has been cracking down on organisations that fail to remunerate their employees appropriately.
While there are some organisations in Australia that go out of their way to operate in breach of Australia’s employment legislation, the majority are more likely to be doing so unknowingly. Regardless, the consequences can be costly and damaging to your brand’s reputation.
There’s no doubt that navigating the ever-changing world of payroll legislation is complex – especially if payroll management is just one of many responsibilities you have in your organisation.
To help you along the way, here are a few important steps you can take to minimise the risk of breaching our employment legislation.
- Invest in a reputable software platform that complies with Australian payroll systems and will be automatically updated to meet Australian legislative change
- When sourcing a new payroll system stipulate your business’ unique payroll rules then before switching over, test it thoroughly for accurate configuration
- Ensure absolute accuracy when entering an employee’s details, especially when a new employee is onboarded. Logging incorrect bank account details will be noticed sooner rather than later however incorrect hourly rates, over-time rates or leave arrangements can go un-noticed for some time. This will upset your valued employee to no end and cost your organisation money and credibility.
- Manage communication processes so that agreements between employees and managers are clearly passed on to payroll staff – an arrangement between a staff member and their manager to take holidays in advance or in lieu of extra hours worked needs to be correctly noted to ensure pay rates are adjusted accordingly.
- Be familiar with each employees’ enterprise agreement or award so that you have a firm understanding of which allowances attract overtime and which attract penalties etc.
- Take advantage of technology to provide variance reports that will alert you to inconsistencies in employee payrolls, such as employees clocking on or off outside accepted regular hours, working more hours than they typically would etc
- Be aware of new tax changes implemented with each financial year that will impact your payroll management. Typically software vendors will offer automated updates however you may need to re-enter specific information
- Be sure to update your organisation’s payroll system in accordance with any changes implemented by management that impact sick leave, parental leave and study leave arrangements etc
- Perform an annual audit to compare your system’s findings with each employee’s personal records. Look for discrepancies in base salary, superannuation, bonuses, commissions sick leave, annual leave and long-service leave etc
- Maintain records that show employees have received their correct entitlements in case of audit or dispute.
Regardless of whether you have one employee, 100 or 1,000, maintaining accurate payroll systems are essential to meet your obligations to employees and the financial success of your business over the long term. Errors of judgment, lack of knowledge and deliberate misconduct can have far-reaching consequences.
Outsourcing your payroll to a specialist organisation such as Ayers will enable you to focus on your core business in the knowledge that your staff entitlements are managed appropriately and efficiently all year-round.