Maximum penalties for breaching business record-keeping laws have recently been doubled, providing twice the incentive for business leaders to keep their paperwork in order.
“Every Australian employer is obligated to keep accurate employment records,” said Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James.
“We see far too many cases of businesses failing to get the basics right when it comes to record-keeping and regrettably it’s often workers who get hit the hardest as a lack of accurate records can make it difficult to determine if they have received their correct entitlements.
“We welcome the penalty increase for employers who fail to meet their record-keeping obligations although we would prefer if business operators did the right thing from the outset.”
According to the FWO, inaccurate record-keeping or employee payslips is a major concern: some two-thirds of the court cases it instigated last financial year were a direct result of such breaches.
Ms James noted that one such case involved a Queensland labour-hire company which, together with its manager, were fined over $84,000 for repeated breaches, even after a previous caution by the FWO.
She urged employers to visit the fairwork.gov.au site and take advantage of the online courses and tools available that aim to sort fact from fiction in the complex world of industrial relations.
“With the release of our new materials, there has never been so much freely available information to assist employers to understand their workplace obligations. The time for excuses is over,” Ms James cautioned.
It comes as a Gold Coast restaurant operator has been handed fines in excess of $280,000 for covering up underpayments to its employees.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.