Breadtop to audit employee pay packets

23 January 2014

Australian-based bakery franchise Breadtop is the latest major employer to join with the Fair Work Ombudsman to ensure the pay packets of its 800-strong national workforce are accurate.

Breadtop, in collaboration with the Fair Work Ombudsman, has set up a self-audit process to review staff entitlements and correct any issues it may find.

The franchise has about 65 stores throughout metropolitan Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra selling bread, cakes, buns and pastries.

The review is in line with Breadtop's goal of being an employer of choice and operating its business ethically and compliant with federal workplace laws.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James has welcomed the company's proactive approach.

"We congratulate Breadtop for showing corporate responsibility to its network of employees, showing leadership to the rest of the franchising industry," she said.

Since McDonald's signed the first Proactive Compliance Deed with the Fair Work Ombudsman in mid-2011, others to follow suit include Spotless, Red Rooster, Domino's and Asset Industries Australia.

Ms James says it is heartening to see companies which recognise the importance of great relationships with staff - and part of building a great relationship is being able to say to workers that they have been paid every single cent they are entitled to.

"The Fair Work Ombudsman continues to look for ways to assist employers and employees to be able to and self-resolve issues in the workplace," she said.

"Proactive Compliance Deeds facilitate better communication between employers and employees, as well as strengthening the co-operation and working arrangements between employers and ourselves.

"The Deeds are a valuable way for us to engage with employers who want to do the right thing and we commend Breadtop for taking the extra step of joining this program.”

Breadtop signed up to the self-audits after the Fair Work Ombudsman received a small number of complaints from franchise employees about underpayment of wages and entitlements.

Under the terms of the Deed, Breadtop Pty Ltd commits to ensuring its compliance with workplace laws and promoting harmonious, productive and co-operative workplaces.

The parent company also requires its franchisees to do likewise, and has established an Employee Liaison Officer whom staff can contact to discuss their rights at work.

As part of a self-audit, Breadtop and its franchisees will scrutinise the pay packets of up to 10 per cent of their workforce.

"Recognising that problems may sometimes occur with payment of correct wages and entitlements, Breadtop will be asking its franchise holders to pay careful attention to the minimum hourly rate, loadings, allowances and penalties," Ms James said.

Two rounds of audits will be undertaken for a two-week pay period in March and another in November and the results will be provided to the Fair Work Ombudsman, including notification of steps taken to rectify any contraventions identified.

Breadtop will also provide the Fair Work Ombudsman with a report early next year on the number of complaints it has received and resolved and the average amount of any underpayment of entitlements.

Ms James says the Proactive Compliance Deed program is a terrific model for other companies, large and small, who want to be seen as a great place to work.

Breadtop, based in Abbotsford, Victoria, acknowledges that there are opportunities for continuous improvement in relation to its workplace practices.

Under the Deed - available at - Breadtop also accepts responsibility for developing systems and processes to maintain ongoing compliance with Commonwealth workplace laws.

The Fair Work Ombudsman also runs a National Franchise Program (NFP) to encourage big franchisors to enhance their brand by publicly supporting fair workplaces.

Ms James said those participating in the NFP receive free resources to educate their franchisees and advice on how to best promote compliance with workplace laws across their network.

"They are demonstrating their commitment to corporate responsibility and sending out a message that they value the rights of their large and diverse workforces," she said.

Employers or employees seeking assistance on workplace relations laws can contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit the website.

An 'Industries' section on the Fair Work Ombudsman's website provides information specifically tailored for employers and workers in the retail industry.

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