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FWO audits of the health care and social assistance industry

December 1, 2015


Making a list and checking it twice

Health care is a serious business. Over a million Australians are employed in the health care and social assistance industry, and their wages alone cost employers over $41 million per year. This makes the industry a prime target for audits.

Are you prepared?

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) conducts thousands of audits per year – some randomly chosen, some the result of employee complaints. And sometimes, it concentrates on a particular industry.

Last year’s victim was construction – 2016 could well be the time of the health care and social assistance industry. We’re not just guessing; the FWO have recently declared a campaign to educate employers in this industry, starting with the medical services sector, which means their focus is already on you.

What does this mean?

A compliance audit is an investigation into a business to ensure it is complying with its workplace obligations under the Fair Work Act and other industrial agreements.

Fair Work Inspectors have the power to check your records and documents, as well as interviewing your employees to review compliance. Some of the things they might check include whether you as an employer are:

  • Paying the correct minimum hourly rates
  • Paying the correct loadings, penalty rates and allowances
  • Providing for sufficient meal breaks
  • Keeping accurate and complete records
  • Filling your payslip obligations.

If you are found to be non-compliant, you will not only be required to remedy the breach anyway, but are also likely to be hit with large penalties.

What can I do?

It is extremely important to know whether your employees are covered by a Modern Award or an Enterprise Agreement, as most of your obligations arise from these instruments.

Some of the questions you might want to ask yourself are:

  • Have I checked the pay rates in the Award/Enterprise Agreement recently? Have I accounted for the pay increases from 1 July 2015?
  • Are my employees classified correctly?
  • Do the payslips I issue have all the correct information?
  • Am I aware of all of my obligations under the National Employment Standards and the Fair Work Act?

Nobody likes bad surprises

Don’t wait for the audit to arrive: now is the time to act. Undertake your own internal audit of your business to ensure you are compliant with your workplace obligations. The last present you want this Christmas is hefty fines and a bad reputation.  Check, and check again.

Even Santa checks his list twice.

For more information on FWO audits and Award compliance, clients should contact the HR Assured team.  If you’d like more information about the benefits of becoming an HR Assured client contact us today for an informal chat.