By Lisa Anaf, Partner and Diana Diaz, Senior Associate
Spot checks for businesses in Victoria, Perth and Adelaide
The Fair Work Ombudsman has announced that over the next three months it will be targeting specific suburbs and States for random spot checks of businesses to undertake compliance audits.
The Ombudsman, Natalie James, has identified the areas that will be the subject of the spot checks as being “persistent” sources of requests for assistance from workers:
- up to 250 businesses in and around Melbourne’s Dandenong, Dandenong South and Springvale region from a range of sectors including road freight transport, building and industrial cleaning, carpentry, takeaway food, cafes and restaurants;
- up to 150 businesses located in and around Perth’s Kwinana, Rockingham and Armadale, including hair and beauty, real estate, electrical services, carpentry, road freight transport, engineering services and hospitality; and
- up to 125 businesses located in Adelaide’s CBD and North Adelaide, including cafes, restaurants, pubs, taverns, bars and security services.
Inspectors will be on the lookout for employers who are not paying the correct minimum hourly rates, penalty rates, allowances, loadings and providing appropriate meal breaks. They will also check for compliance with record-keeping and payslip obligations.
What can you do?
If you operate a business that might be targeted, now is the time to undertake an internal audit of your employment practices so that there are no surprises if an inspector visits.
Some basic areas for attention include:
- check pay rates against the relevant award, enterprise agreement, or federal minimum wage – and don’t forget the minimum wage increase on 1 July 2015 for award-covered and award-free employees;
- ensure that the correct industrial instrument has been identified, including the correct classification for employees, as this will affect minimum pay obligations;
- review your employment contract templates to ensure they are legally compliant;
- check for compliance with visa limitations for any non-resident or international employees;
- confirm that managers and supervisors are sending employees on breaks as required under relevant awards and enterprise agreements; and
- review payroll practices to ensure that all of the applicable minimum hourly rates, penalties, allowances and loadings are being paid, and that record-keeping and payslip obligations are being met.