By Charles Power
Not long ago, I came across a Fair Work Ombudsman report that I thought highlighted a very important issue – the underpayment of employees.
The report detailed an investigation in which the watchdog randomly audited nearly 2,000 retailers Australia-wide.
And get this: more than a quarter of the businesses audited during the investigation were found to have breached their wage and award requirements.
But they didn’t necessarily do so knowingly – many breached their requirements as a result of not having the right information and not properly interpreting information they did have available to them.
The majority of the breaches related to underpayment of wages and penalty rates, and failure to comply with pay slip requirements.
As a result of their campaign, the Fair Work Ombudsman recovered $585,000 for 755 retail staff across the country – and there are still over 200 businesses under investigation.
So what’s the lesson here?
Even if you think you’re paying your employees correctly, you need to be absolutely sure you’re meeting all your requirements under the law.
If you don’t, you could easily find yourself with a huge amount to repay – not to mention a fine to boot.
Just think: if you found out tomorrow that you had to pay $40,000 in back-pay to your employees, would your business have the cash flow to cover it?
For more information on your wage requirements and how to make sure you’re paying your employees correctly, check out Hours of Work and Time and Wages in your Employment Law Practical Handbook subscription.
10 details you must include in a pay slip
To meet your requirements under the law, you must issue each employee a written pay slip for every remuneration payment made to them, within one day of the payment.
Here are 10 details your pay slips must include:
- The name of the business that employs the relevant employee.
- The employee’s name.
- The date of payment.
- The period to which the payment relates.
- If the employee is paid by the hour, the ordinary hourly rate, the number of hours in that period for which the employee was employed at that rate and the amount of the payment made at that rate.
- If the employee is paid an annual salary, the salary amount.
- The gross and net amount of the payment.
- Any amount paid as an incentive-based payment, bonus, loading, monetary allowance, penalty rate or other entitlement.
- Any amounts deducted, including the name and number of the fund or account into which the deduction was paid.
- Amounts of superannuation contributions that you have made for the benefit of the employee during the period to which the pay slip relates. You must also record the name of the fund to which that contribution was made (except for contributions in respect of a defined benefit interest in a defined benefit fund).