The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) entered into a compliance partnership with Hays Specialist Recruitment (Australia) Pty Ltd [Hays] on 31 January 2014.
Hays initiated the partnership with the FWO to publicly demonstrate its commitment to compliance with Australian workplace laws and align with its goal to be an employer of choice.
Compliance partnerships are underpinned by a Proactive Compliance Deed (Deed). The public nature of the document means it is an open commitment by Hays to the Australian community, and its staff, that it will promote compliant, fair and productive workplaces.
Key terms of the partnership included:
- communication of the partnership and terms of the Deed to both FWO and Hays staff
- ensuring robust systems and processes are in place to ensure ongoing compliance with workplace laws
- the opportunity to self-resolve employee requests for assistance
- regular reporting to and receiving advice from the FWO.
Under the terms of the partnership, Hays provided the FWO with details about the systems and processes the company had put in place to promote compliance throughout its organisation, including details of the workplace relations training given to Hays staff and managers.
Hays were also accorded the opportunity to self-resolve workplace issues that were brought to the attention of the FWO. During the course of the Deed, eight requests for assistance of a routine-low nature were lodged with the FWO concerning Hays. Seven of the requests were able to be resolved between the parties, without FWO involvement. Of the seven requests that were self-resolved, issues included:
- non-payment of wages for two days’ work due to a clerical error
- unlawful deductions
- issues regarding termination of employment
- non-payment of allowances, such as accommodation, due to a clerical error.
One request for assistance that was not self-resolved involved relocation payments in an employment contract. Following assessment of the matter, the FWO decided not to take further action.
The average time taken to resolve requests for assistance was 25.5 days, and the total amount of underpayments was $505.91.
Overall, the partnership has been positive. Hays engaged in a timely and cooperative way with the FWO throughout the life of the agreement.
While the nominal expiry date of the Deed was 31 January 2016, the terms of the partnership have remained in place as the FWO is both satisfied that Hays is well placed to ensure it remains compliant with its obligations to employees under Australian workplace laws and keen to explore a second generation partnership.