You may have seen recent reports of several large Australian employers allegedly committing what is colloquially referred to as “wage theft”.
Employers must be vigilant that their employees are paid correctly and even more so from 1 March 2020.
Late last year the Fair Work Commission handed down a decision which will alter annualised salary provisions under 22 modern awards from 1 March 2020.
The Awards affected can be found on the Fair Work Commission’s website and include the Banking, Finance and Administration Award, the Clerks – Private Sector Award, the Legal Award and the Pharmacy Award.
This will undoubtedly affect a lot of white collar employees.
Currently relevant Awards allow an employer to pay an employee an annual salary in satisfaction of the minimum wage, allowances, overtime, penalty rates and annual leave loading.
For example, employers can pay someone 20% more than the minimum wage in satisfaction of these Award entitlements, provided the employer states in writing to the employee what the employer is doing and what entitlements are covered by the increased payment.
The changes coming into effect mean that employers now have an obligation to track the hours worked by full-time salaried employees who are covered by the Award.
This may require a change in behaviour as, until now, salaried employees under the Award do not usually record their time and attendance and employers do not otherwise keep those records either.
By 1 March 2020 employers caught by the changes to the Award must in addition to current requirements:
There are large fines for not complying with the requirements of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) in this regard and the Government is considering introducing legislation to make it a criminal offence for breaching the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and underpaying employees.
The information in this blog is intended only to provide a general overview and has not been prepared with a view to any particular situation or set of circumstances. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. While we attempt to ensure the information is current and accurate we do not guarantee its currency and accuracy. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the information in this blog as it may not be appropriate for your individual circumstances.