Questions Directors Should Be Asking for Payroll Compliance

Lisa Spiden

Cases of underpayment of wages, or wage theft, are regularly featured in the news. Many big name brands have fallen under the hammer for payroll non-compliance. 

It is estimated that 79% of hospitality employers have failed to provide the entitled wage to their staff and an estimated 3 million employees have been underpaid to the tune of around $6 billion dollars.

There is a high volume of underpayment scandals in the Australian media, however, no one ever really talks about the overpayment of staff. According to Lisa Spiden, Founder and Director at Workforce Analytics, a payroll audit and compliance specialist, a vast majority of businesses are unintentionally overpaying a proportion of their staff and are struggling to claw back their earnings. While this seems beneficial for the employee, it signals a wider problem across the Australian employment landscape that payroll compliance, regardless of underpayment or overpayment, is tough to identify, rectify and continually comply. 

So, how do we tell if the business is not achieving payroll compliance?

According to Spiden, payroll compliance can be achieved from the top, driven by proactive business Directors who are asking the right questions and prioritising the function. 

Proactive business Directors will generally be asking the following questions:

  • What has been our spend on salary and wages for the last financial year? 
  • What are we doing to understand if we are managing payroll appropriately and compliantly? 
  • When was the last time we reviewed the application of the correct minimum terms and conditions of our employees?
  • When was the last time we had an external review of our payroll codes and configuration?
  • If we have employees on annual salaries, are they appropriate given the minimum terms and conditions of employment?
  • Are all of our time sheets, payroll and finance processes documented? Do we have visibility on exactly how our staff are paid?
  • What technologies are we using in the payroll function and what is our risk of human error or manual handling discrepancies?
  • Do we regularly test our employees on casual and annualised salaries to ensure they are being paid correctly?
  • How do we monitor compliance with workplace obligations for migrant workers, casual workers, leave entitlements or child support payments?
  • Do we have access to or a legislative expert on the payroll team?
  • How do our payroll team notify us of problems and also keep up with professional development?
  • How do we receive and deal with employee pay queries?
  • How often are we running back pay adjustments?
  • Have we gone through a Fair Work Australia audit yet and if not, are we ready for one?
  • When was the last time the organisation did a spot check of recent month’s payroll data to check for accidental underpayment, overpayment or non-compliance?
  • When was the last time the business did a review of all applicable Fair Work Australia Modern Awards that are used in the business against the current employee rostering schedules? 
  • Has the business recently deployed or started a new business service that may require employees to be paid under a different Modern Award? 
According to the team at Workforce Analytics, if the above questions have not been asked and solved recently, it is likely that there will be non-compliance issues.

If you’re a business Director and overwhelmed with addressing these questions; engage with the team at Workforce Analytics for an initial discussion on how to solve these potential issues. With over 20 years expertise in Australian payroll compliance, and a strong network of legal and payroll professionals we can refer to, Workforce Analytics are the trusted partner to achieve payroll compliance. 

About Workforce Analytics

Workforce Analytics has designed world-leading technologies and methodologies to help businesses unlock a superior level of performance. Using data science, sophisticated mathematics, optimisation, AI and machine learning, Workforce Analytics can construct workforce management solutions that cover payroll compliance, rostering, sales optimisation and demand precision. 

Workforce Analytics have four unique and world leading products that can be used as individual components or as a complete holistic overview to your workforce management processes. The products include:

  • Demand Precision, that uses a combination of historical data and data science to deliver superiorly accurate future forecasts for your business such as foot-traffic analysis, spend metrics and customer profiling;
  • Roster Right, that uses advanced scientific algorithms to construct the best roster possible for your business, increasing productivity and profitability;
  • Pay Review, that runs employee pay and roster data through our award and Enterprise Agreement compliance engine to ensure your business is meeting its payroll compliance obligations; and
  • Consulting, where we use world leading, cutting edge mathematical modelling to solve your biggest workforce challenges.

Want some guidance on your current payroll situation?
Call us directly on 0417 051 005 or email