You could argue that workplace compliance is a two-way street between the employer and the employees, each party being responsible for knowing and understanding the current employment obligations and requirements.
Employers are primarily responsible to ensure that they comply with the myriad of legislation and regulations around employing staff. By the same token, employees need to understand their legal rights and take the time to properly review and understand their employment contracts and the organisation’s policies.
At the end of the day, however, the onus is on the employer. So are the risks.
Ultimately, Directors or Senior Executives have the key responsibility of complying with the legal and regulatory requirements of running a business or organisation. Such legal and regulatory requirements related to employing staff include:
Fairwork Act 2009
Sex Discrimination Act 1984
Disability Discrimination Act 1992
Australian Taxation Office – PAYG and Superannuation Guarantee
Workplace Health and Safety Act
Not meeting your obligations can result in criminal sanctions, civil sanctions, disqualification, penalties and commercial consequences.
Ignorance is no excuse. In two separate cases within the Australian Aged Care Industry, for example, companies have had to pay millions of dollars in compensation for inadvertently underpaying their workers:
In addition to reimbursing their workers a combined total of $2.5 million, the first company was fined $200,000 by the Federal Court, regardless of the fact that the underpayments were not deliberate.1
The second company unintentionally breached 24 separate industrial instruments and had to reimburse their workers $4.8 million.2
These cases are a reminder that a small error unnoticed over time can result in severe consequences.
How often do you review your HR and IR processes and controls? Can you afford to not to comply?
Employers can mitigate their employment obligation risks by consulting with an experienced Human Resource advisor who can implement various support tools. A Human Resource and Industrial Relations specialist can help you ensure you are complying with employment contracts, implementing Human Resources Policies and Procedures and maintaining accurate recordkeeping.
At WorkPlacePLUS, we offer risk mitigation services, full HR reviews of your policies and procedures and independent workplace investigations for when an issue arises. To discuss how we can assist your organisation, please contact us today.
WorkPlacePLUS is the “Preferred Human Resource and Employee Relations Provider” for Speech Pathology Australia and all of its members.