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Managing risk

How to implement processes that are Fair Work compliant

Every year the Fair Work Ombudsman conducts thousands of workplace audits. Are you prepared if a Fair Work inspector comes knocking?

Fair Work inspectors conduct workplace audits to check if employers are complying with workplace laws. One year they recovered more than $40 million in underpayments and issued $479,900 in on-the-spot fines for pay slips and record-keeping breaches. So, how would your business fare if an inspector came knocking?

As an employer, it’s essential your organisation complies with the Fair Work Act 2009 - the key piece of Commonwealth legislation regulating employment and workplace relations.

What processes do organisations need to have to be compliant with FWO standards?

The Fair Work Act 2009 and the Fair Work Regulations 2009 provide a safety net of minimum entitlements, enable flexible working arrangements and fairness at work and prevent discrimination against employees.

As an employer, you need to ensure:

·       you meet your obligations when it comes to the National Employment Standards (NES), which includes annual leave, termination and redundancy, flexible working arrangements, maximum weekly hours, public holidays, and other types of leave such as sick, parental, community service, long service and carer’s leave

·       salary and superannuation packages, as well as penalty rates, are in line with the Fair Work Commission’s minimum wage and modern awards or enterprise agreements

·       new employees receive a Fair Work Information Statement

·       you provide employees with payslips

·       you’re aware of timesheet requirements and keep a record of payslips either manually or electronically

·       you’re aware of the Fair Work legislation regarding ending employment, including unfair dismissal, resignation, termination, notice periods and final pay.

Tips for getting it right

Conduct a self-audit. This helps you evaluate where your organisation currently stands in relation to Fair Work requirements. The FWO has a handy self-audit checklist on their website to help companies evaluate their level of compliance. 

Update your documentation. This includes things like employment contracts, payslips and timesheets and should be updated in line with the results from your self-audit.

Inform your employees. It’s essential everyone in your organisation is across updates to company policies and procedures. Set up an information session for all employees to explain any new processes, then follow up with written documentation via email. It could also be a good idea to run a follow-up Q&A session if employees have any questions.

Keep records of everything. It’s important to keep records of self-audits and changes in processes, as well as the actions your organisation has taken to address any compliance issues. This can be beneficial if an FWO audit identifies any issues.

Above all, remember that compliance takes time and dedication from everyone involved, and requires planning and ongoing commitment.

My Business Workplace has many policies and resources to manage workplace risk.

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