RANDOM CHECKS TARGET NT WORKPLACES
TERRITORY businesses that employ casuals may be randomly checked as part of a Fair Work Ombudsman campaign targeted at ensuring the “basics are right” in the workplace.
The campaign is looking at 1000 businesses across Australia, including those in the Northern Territory.
A reverse onus of proof can now apply, meaning that employers who don’t meet recordkeeping or pay slip obligations and can’t give a reasonable excuse will need to disprove allegations of underpayments made in a court.
An FWO spokeswoman was unable to give a breakdown on how many Territory businesses could be audited but she did say they would include fast food, restaurants, cafes and retail.
“We’re unable to provide a regional breakdown at this early stage of the campaign,” she said.
“The businesses to be audited as part of the FWO’s Workplace Basics campaign are randomly selected from a wide range of industries across Australia.
The industries and areas of focus selected for the campaign have been informed by the analysis of data obtained from the Fair Work Ombudsman’s intelligence reports.
Areas of focus include, but are not limited to, the fast food, restaurant and cafe sectors; retail; security; and manufacturing.
“There will also be a focus on sectors where large numbers of vulnerable workers, such as casuals, migrants and students are employed.”
The Workplace Basics campaign will see Fair Work inspectors “assist businesses” in accessing and navigating the wide range of free resources available to help them meet their obligations to pay workers correctly and follow recordkeeping and pay-slip laws.
The Fair Work Ombudsman will be seeking to ensure that employers are aware of the significantly higher penalties non-compliant businesses face under law changes passed last year to protect vulnerable workers, particularly those that relate to record keeping.
Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Kristen Hannah said successive campaigns conducted by the Fair Work Ombudsman are finding that too many businesses were getting the basics wrong.
“Failures to pay correct base hourly, penalty and overtime rates and inadequate or nonexistent record-keeping and pay-slips are some of the breaches we consistently see from employers,” Ms Hannah said. “If a business cannot get the basic requirements right, then there’s going to be a whole host of problems down the track for the workers and also the employer.
Changes made by the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017 mean companies involved in serious contraventions now face penalties of up to $630,000 per contravention.
The maximum penalties for individuals are now $126,000 per contravention.
The Act also doubled the maximum penalty for failing to keep employee records or issue pay slips to $63,000 for a company and $12,600 for an individual.
Meanwhile, maximum penalties for for knowingly making or keeping false or misleading employee records to $12,600 for an individual have been tripled.
The Fair Work Ombudsman is randomly checking businesses to make sure they are getting the ‘basics right’, especially when it comes to casual workers