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Whoops! HR oversight costs employer $54,000 in back-payments

A business in regional NSW has been ordered to pay over $54,000 to employees after the Fair Work Ombudsman nabbed the employer for miscalculating annu
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Whoops! HR oversight costs employer $54,000 in back-payments

Whoops! HR oversight costs employer $54,000 in back-payments

10 August 2016

A business in regional NSW has been ordered to pay over $54,000 to employees after the Fair Work Ombudsman nabbed the employer for miscalculating annual leave entitlements for shift workers over six years
 
A tip off by a single employee sparked the investigation, with the Ombudsman finding that the employer had miscalculated the leave balances of 75 workers and underpaid 61 employees.

 

No room for error!


Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James acknowledged that most underpayments were inadvertent and the result of employers failing to check their obligations under workplace laws. But good intentions won’t curry favour with the Ombudsman.

"Understanding complex agreements and workplace laws is fundamental good business practice,” says James.

As the employer in question learnt, a ‘date’ with the Ombudsman is no picnic - checks by an external auditor and other reporting requirements cut into business-as-usual activity.

Seek the right people


James encourages businesses to “proactively seek information on workplace relations from us, from employer organisations and professionals advising in this space.”

"We know that, with the benefit of their expert advice, businesses are more likely to be compliant. It gives them more confidence navigating the system, especially when a dispute arises.

You don’t know what you don’t know…


A new service designed and delivered by the Business Chambers of Australia, Workplace Assured, weeds out every risk that can befall employers so you get affordable and comprehensive risk management support on everything from wage rates and leave entitlements, termination of employment, to bullying and harassment.

The Workplace Assured service provides unlimited access to expert advice, legally-compliant templates and policies, legal representation in courts and tribunals if the worst happens, and insurance cover for up to $2 million for any claims and legal fees.

As Workplace Assured is a mission-based organisation delivered by non-profit employer bodies advocating for business, the service doesn’t cost the earth – subscribers can pay from $47 per month.

First and last line of defence


Thankfully, the regionally-based employer was able to resolve the situation in cooperation with the Ombudsman, but claims that proceed to court can sink a business.

“Employers risk facing the prospect of claims that can cost them not just significant amounts in compensation but, in most cases, legal fees that can cost the employer just as much as the claim,” says Joe Murphy, Director of Australian Business Lawyer & Advisors.

Are you at risk of a potential workplace claim? Take this simple healthcheck quiz to see if your business might be under the firing line.

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Like what you’re hearing?

With plans available from just $58 per week, now is an excellent time to join Workplace Assured.

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