Ciaran Strachan – Dynamic BusinessMD & CEO at Australian Workforce Compliance Council Ltd
How can SMEs avoid wage pitfalls and stay compliant?
Ciaran Strachan, Managing Director & CEO at Australian Workforce Compliance Council
“First, it’s important to make the distinction between underpayment and wage-theft. Wage theft is criminal in nature and must show intent, or that it was a deliberate act. Overpayments and underpayments are not illegal – they are unintentional, and both are result of poor payroll practices. The impact on a business is the same, financial loss.
“Combined Fair Work Ombudsman and Federal Court data, shows one award is the main issue (retail) which in 2021-22 FY equated to more than 60% of the total (almost $600 million AUD) of underpayments. The main reasons for underpayments in big business are a set and forget mentality for Enterprise Agreements, no Chief Payroll Officer with direct report to the CEO, and HR and Accountants erroneously locking current FY salaries including overtime.
“Additionally, we see poor or no system configuration to Australian Labour Laws, or mistakenly mapping Payroll Compliance under “social” instead of “Governance” for ESG. A common failure by small business, is not investing in a shift/time and attendance plugin for their accounting/payroll product, which cost roughly $5 per employee per month.”