There is a hidden anxiety that many CEOs, CFOs, HR Managers and Payroll Compliance personnel share, and that’s the dreaded fear of an underpayment of wages.
Payroll Managers have the critical responsibility to ensure they are compliant with Australia’s legislative requirements and Modern Award, which is known for being complex and ever-changing.
The exercise of analysing data for non-compliances or underpayments is something that may be delayed or avoided by some businesses as they are not prepared if an issue is uncovered.
However, with increasing pressure from the Fair Work Ombudsman and workers unions, companies can no longer plead ignorance.
With all that said, it’s not something we can sweep under the rug, so what do we do about it?
We’ve outlined four steps you can take today if you suspect you could be underpaying your staff. These steps are relevant for HR managers, payroll managers, finance managers and directors - and are also a great way to stay proactive in your payroll compliance efforts, even if you doubt that an underpayment of wages exists.
1. What questions to ask to avoid an underpayment of wages
When working with clients that are reacting to an imminent workplace audit relating to payroll compliance, there’s often a heightened sense of urgency and a hefty dose of stress. By asking the right questions and taking a proactive approach as soon as (if not before) you suspect a payroll underpayment - you can ensure you respond to any future audits or payroll compliance issues from a steady place.
Here’s 17 of the top questions you can ask yourself and your team today to identify any gaps in your payroll compliance efforts.
2. Establish a proactive payroll compliance culture
No doubt, some of the questions listed in the checklist might be difficult to answer right away, an effective strategy could be to delegate a number of the questions across your HR, Finance and Payroll Management team to share the load and responsibility. That way, the whole team is aware of the significance of proactive payroll compliance and can act with confidence knowing the importance of asking the right questions - at the right time.
We find that in almost every case, our clients haven’t spoken about their concerns with other staff members prior to an audit being flagged. By being proactive and speaking about the ‘elephant in the room’, you can ensure a level headed, strategic approach can be undertaken.
Download the checklist here to get started with implementing a proactive payroll compliance culture.
3. Get your payroll and roster data analysed now
When being audited by fair work it is required to show documented proof that your data is accurate and that you have been paying your employees compliantly. Often, this can create a whole host of unnecessary pressures and new procedures, whilst under the microscope of a Fair Work Australia audit. In our experience, this is often a time when staff unexpectedly resign (in the face of increasing pressure) and core payroll IP walks out the door. The outcome is a melting pot of compliance, competence and complacency stressors.
It can be much more beneficial to engage an expert team, like Workforce Analytics, to analyse your payroll and roster data, before it reaches the point of a workplace audit. This will give you time to rectify any gaps in your data and systems integration, as well as the rostering process, and to draw some conclusions on how you can proactively manage your payroll moving forward.
Alternatively, you also have the option of controlling the audit process yourself (i.e. internally), through the Pay Review self-service software tool. Many organisations want to control their own destiny and manage time frames across the auditing process. This can be done with our Pay Review SaaS tool and can provide businesses with more autonomy around proactive payroll compliance.
This isn't a ‘nice to have’. Given the severity and public nature of this issue, Australian organisations simply must bake this into the HR and Payroll function if they want to ensure underpayments (or overpayments) don’t occur.
Workforce Analytics can run your data through its engine identifying where the non-compliance lies through sophisticated analytics in alignment with an expert payroll team that understands the nuances of wage compliance and Australian legislative requirements.
According to Lisa Spiden, CEO and Founder at Workforce Analytics, “In our 10 years in operation, we have never had a client that hasn’t had a single non-compliance issue, and at the same time, the majority of breaches have been unintentional. There is usually something that has occurred in their rostering process or somewhere else in their internal systems, that causes a discrepancy.”
4. Establish a proactive payroll compliance strategy today
We’ve created the proactive payroll compliance checklist that you can download today, to put forward a strategy that will ensure your organisation can have confidence that there will be no legislative implications and that you’re paying your employees correctly.
Download the 3-page checklist and pass it on to your HR and Payroll Managers today.
At Workforce Analytics, with our Pay Review solution, we take the complexity out of Payroll for you. Using data science, sophisticated mathematics, optimisation, AI and machine learning, we analyse your data and rosters to ensure you are payroll-compliant and that your organisation has clear strategies to ensure proactive payroll compliance into the future. Working alongside legal firms, we assign our highly experienced and specialised payroll and Modern Award experts to your project to ensure you feel armed with the information you need to be effective at payroll.
Have an immediate payroll compliance concern? Contact us today.
If you suspect an immediate payroll compliance issue or to set up an introductory meeting, you can call us directly on 03 9205 5857 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Workforce Analytics we understand the severity and sensitivity of payroll compliance and adhere to 100% privacy with every business we speak to. You can be re-assured that your business is in safe hands with us.