For the record, good records are essential
27 May 2014
The Fair Work Ombudsman has issued a reminder to businesses of the importance of maintaining proper employment records.
Fair Work inspectors continue to see employers failing to keep correct records or issuing pay slips that contain the required information.
In a bid to raise awareness of record-keeping obligations, site visits are planned to 350 businesses throughout NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and the ACT.
The face-to-face visits are aimed at educating employers about their responsibilities and how the Fair Work Ombudsman can assist them to comply with workplace laws.
Inadequate records hamper the ability of Fair Work inspectors to determine if employees are being paid correctly if a dispute arises over wages.
In the past, the Agency has taken legal action against some employers who did not keep proper records and who were suspected of underpaying their staff.
In 2010, an Adelaide trolley collecting company and its director were fined $35,000 by the South Australian Industrial Relations Court and the operators of a Melbourne restaurant were penalised $10,000 in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.
In both cases, the lack of records prohibited the Fair Work Ombudsman from determining whether large numbers of employees, suspected of being significantly underpaid, had received their full lawful entitlements.
Fair Work inspectors will ask employers selected for auditing to discuss their record-keeping and payslip practices, and where non-compliance is identified, will receive assistance to achieve compliance.
Centres earmarked for site visits include: NSW: Bathurst and Lithgow and the Blue Mountains region including Blackheath, Katoomba, Leura and Wentworth Falls; ACT: Canberra; Victoria: Port Fairy, Portland and Warrnambool; Queensland: Sunshine Coast including Caloundra, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba and Noosa and the Wide Bay region including Hervey Bay and Maryborough; Tasmania: Burnie, Devonport and Ulverstone.
Fair Work inspectors will hand out education packs with information about the free tools and resources available from the Fair Work Ombudsman to assist them.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the Agency is making compliance easier for businesses by continually building on the information available on its website.
“Small businesses often don’t have the benefit of in-house human resources and payroll staff, so we place a high priority on assisting them,” she said.
“Equipping people with the information they need helps to create fair and productive workplaces, as well as ensuring a level playing field for all.”
Employers can access information, including fact sheets and templates, at www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. A free interpreter service is also available on 13 14 50.
Tom McPherson, Media Adviser
Mobile: 0439 835 855