Employee awards are changing. Are you up to date?

Wednesday January 29, 2020

By now, the festive party hangover is a distant memory. Fresh goals are firmly in place and many business owners are geared up for a new year. But before you pick up and revisit your 2020 goals list for your business, there are a few important changes to be mindful of first.

You may be aware that The Fair Work Commission has been reviewing all modern awards as part of its four-yearly review. Well this review ended in the latter half of last year. And as a result of a final decision by the Full Bench of the Commission, there are some crucial changes being implemented this year that you must be aware of.

The purpose of the review was to reduce the risk of confusion for employers, instances of wage-theft and non-compliance with awards by clarifying or changing some award clauses. The changes being implemented are to make sure that employees covered by awards are correctly compensated for their work.

What are the changes?

It is important to understand and regularly review the modern awards that apply to your workforce. This will keep you up to date and make sure your business is compliant. Recent changes to be implemented in March concern annualised wage arrangements with award-covered employees. It will affect awards in many industries. If you are unsure about yours, ask us.

The key changes coming in March concern accurate record-keeping and payroll processes, such as:

  • Employees will need to be provided with written confirmation regarding which provisions of their modern award will be satisfied by an annualised wage. And how the annualised wage was calculated, including assumptions around penalties and overtime. They will also need written confirmation clarifying the outer limits of ordinary and overtime hours that they may be required to work, without being entitled to any amount in excess of the annualised salary.
  • Records must be kept of all start and finish times, including unpaid breaks, for all employees under an annualised wage arrangement. These must be agreed and signed by employees each pay cycle.
  • Employers must undertake annual calculations in order to reconcile any shortfalls in pay.

What do I need to do?

If you employ anyone on an annualised wage arrangement who is also covered by an award, you will need to review your contracts and payroll processes before March. You may also need to implement changes to ensure your business is compliant. Failure to do so will result in a breach under the Fair Work Act 2009 and can lead to sizable fines.

Support for your business

Legislation surrounding payroll and awards is complex. You may find it a time-consuming task to understand and implement important changes. Getting it wrong can be risky and expensive. By outsourcing your HR to us, our experienced professionals can take this off your hands.

Through working with us, you can access the same advantages that large businesses enjoy. We provide local, personal and professional expert advice, all at a fraction of the cost of an in-house HR team. Call us today to make sure that your business is compliant and prepared for important legislative changes this year.

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