Fair Work awards are changing for employees: how to get ready and reduce your risk - Wageloch


Fair Work awards are changing for employees: how to get ready and reduce your risk

Every four years, Fair Work Australia reviews all industry awards and makes award changes. And this year, it started rolling out changes that could affect your business.

Taking the time now to understand how your awards and award rates have changed (and update your rostering and payroll systems) could help you avoid a legal minefield down the track.

But before you place it in the ‘too hard’ basket, rest assured we’re here to help you make sense of it all. So let’s take a look…

What Fair Work acts and awards have changed?

The biggest change Fair Work Australia has made to its acts and award wages is the layout and language. There’s also a new rate table. These changes are meant to make the award details easier to read and to help make sense of the award changes relevant to your business and staff.

Most award rates rules and work entitlements haven’t changed that much  – but you’ll still want to check the Fair Work Commission’s updated list of awards and the table that outlines when your awards will change (keep in mind many already have).

If you’re not sure about any changes to your state-based industry awards, check with the Fair Work Ombudsman or contact the Fair Work office based in your state or territory.

Importance of time and attendance records

Are you keeping time and attendance for salaried workers? While previously most employees wouldn’t see the need for this sort of system, changes to compliance might now make this necessary. Salaried workers now require records to show that they are being paid at least as much as, if not more, than what they would be paid under their award if they were working as a permanent full-time worker. It is important to review this to ensure you are not at risk of penalties.

If you need to know how this can impact you and your business see the latest from Fair Work Australia in their new rules for annualised wage arrangements.

What happens if we don’t update our awards?

Underpayment for award wages carries a pretty big business risk. Even if you make an honest mistake in paying your staff the wrong rate (or underpaying them), you could be taken to court and be made to pay a penalty and/or employee entitlements or compensation.

Another possibility is a Fair Work Inspector issuing you with a Compliance Notice, with non-compliance resulting in a penalty of up to $33,000.

So it’s really important to get it right – especially given how rapidly the workplace has changed this year as we all navigate COVID-19 and related government schemes.

As well as being across your awards, you also have to make sure your staff knows about their updated award. You can send out a digital version, or place a paper copy in a prominent spot – like the work noticeboard or kitchen.

If you are using Wageloch’s solutions, you can also use the staff portal or mobile app to send your staff a direct notification.

How should we update our rostering and payroll?

We can help with that. Once you’ve liaised with Fair Work and know the award changes you need to make to ensure your payroll complies, our local support team can help you update them in your system. That way, any new changes (including rules for overtime and penalty rates) will be automatically applied to any new rostering and payroll periods.

Contact our support team today, or request a remote support session to have one of our friendly local staff members to talk through the process.

It’s just one of the ways we make it easy to manage your workforce.

If you’d like to try Wageloch for your business and get set up with the new industry awards in a snap, book a demo with us today.


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