While many smaller businesses feel they often bear the brunt of regulators, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has issued an upbeat report on its “compliance partnership” with ASX-listed retailer JB Hi-Fi.
According to the FWO, an investigation into the electronics retailer in 2013 had revealed time-keeping problems that were leading to wage underpayments at one of its stores.
JB Hi-Fi subsequently carried out an internal audit across 22 of its stores, which collectively employed 337 people, and discovered that 15 staffers had been shortchanged small amounts, ranging from $2.36 to $367.90. Combined, they totalled $1,397.
Those underpayments were found to have been caused by time-keeping errors rather than award rates not being met.
In a bid to overhaul its procedures to ensure full compliance with workplace laws, JB Hi-Fi entered into a compliance partnership with the FWO, which has seen it implement a new online time and attendance system and beef up its workplace training program for managers and staff.
The FWO suggested this process serves as an example of how businesses can proactively achieve compliance with workplace laws and address any shortcomings internally before they blow up into larger and more expensive problems.
“The measures JB Hi-Fi implemented under the partnership benefit all of its employees and reduce the risk of future workplace breaches occurring in its network,” Ms Parker said.
“Workplace compliance should be a top priority for all businesses, and we have a range of resources available to help employers comply with their obligations.”
She added that no requests for assistance were received during the process from any of the retailer’s employees.
JB Hi-Fi has been contacted for comment.
The JB Hi-Fi Group operates both the JB Hi-Fi electronics retail chain as well as consumer goods retailer The Good Guys, which combined have more than 300 stores across Australia and New Zealand.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.