Fair Work Audits: Put up or Pay up

Ashik Ahmed

Ashik Ahmed

CEO, CTO & Co-Founder

November 20, 2014

Fair Work Audits: Put up or Pay up

Ashik Ahmed, CEO, CTO & Co-Founder
November 20, 2014


Depending on the industry you are in, there are many audits you can be subject to. But two are certain for any industry: Tax and Fair Work audit. This year, the Fair Work Ombudsman has been extremely proactive in conducting audit campaigns across industries across the country.

The message from the Fair Work Ombudsman is loud and clear: No matter what your line of business, no matter your company size, comply with employment regulations or pay heavy penalties.

Crushing non-compliance

For instance, Fair Work inspectors have been behind a bumper crop of on-the-spot-fines and infringement notices of late:

  • There’s been several audits recently at strawberry and blueberry farms up and down the NSW coast. One farmer was found to have underpaid his pickers and ordered to repay $6445 to them. He also received a $510 on-the-spot fine for failing to issue pay-slips.
  • Likewise an audit of businesses in specialised food retailing uncovered a large number of businesses (43% of those audited) that failed to measure up to the compliance standards required.

In any business, on-the-spot fines and the need to make repayments that you hadn’t planned can cripple cash flow and put your business at risk.The cost of failing to meet your compliance obligations is high:

  • An on-the-spot fines can be as much as $2550
  • For more serious matters, you may be liable for penalties of up to $51,000 per breach.

In its audits, the FWO is particularly keen on checking that you’re complying with:

  • Pay-slips and record-keeping obligations
  • Paying employees their minimum entitlements, including minimum hourly rates, penalty rates and overtime rates.

This is particularly so for businesses that hire young and seasonal workers who may not be fully aware of their workplace entitlements.

However, the current focus on auditing the building and construction industry comes after the FWO received more than 2000 complaints last year from construction workers who appear to be well aware of their rights. More than half of these complaints led to the FWO recovering unpaid wages.

So this year the FWO has gone on the offensive. This pro-active campaign is designed to improve compliance and drive behavioural change.

So what does an FWO audit entail?

In most instances an audit by an FW inspector focuses on compliance with a range of workplace regulations, such as minimum wages, penalties, overtime rates, allowances, recordkeeping and pay-slip obligations.

Your employee records must:

  • Be readily accessible to a Fair Work Inspector
  • Be legible and in English
  • Be retained for seven years
  • Not be altered unless for the purposes of correcting an error
  • Not be false or misleading.

So it’s important to keep accurate and complete records for the time worked and wages paid for all of your employees. You also need to make sure you issue pay-slips to each employee.

Your time and wages records should also record:

  • Allocated breaks have been taken, and
  • Any absences due to Personal/Carers’ Leave as well as other forms of leave.

How can Deputy help?

Of course, if you use Deputy’s time and attendance platform, then your records will be in mint condition.

With Deputy, it’s simple to:

  • Maintain accurate wage pay rates
  • Ensure you are applying the correct wage and penalty rates, depending on your Modern Award or Enterprise Agreement
  • Get a detailed and accurate roster cost forecast
  • Capture real-time timesheets with photo verification and geo-location using our powerful kiosk or mobile apps
  • Ensure timesheets and payroll marry up
  • Access historical time and attendance data, any time, any place.
  • Get full audit log on any timesheet changes

So with Deputy, there’s no anomalies for a Fair Work inspector to take issue with and you don’t have to waste time rifling through files on a fruitless paper chase.

So, when the Fair Work Inspector comes knocking, all your time and attendance data on Deputy, means you’ll have everything at your fingertips to help you pass the audit.

Not on Deputy? Sign up for a free trial today.

Important Notice
The information contained in this article is general in nature and you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs. Legal and other matters referred to in this article are of a general nature only and are based on Deputy's interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied on in place of professional advice. Deputy is not responsible for the content of any site owned by a third party that may be linked to this article and no warranty is made by us concerning the suitability, accuracy or timeliness of the content of any site that may be linked to this article. Deputy disclaims all liability (except for any liability which by law cannot be excluded) for any error, inaccuracy, or omission from the information contained in this article and any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.

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Ashik Ahmed
Ashik is the Co-Founder and CEO/CTO at Deputy. He spends most of his time thinking crazy things about Deputy and how it will change the world.

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