Remuneration Review – Is it Time for One?

The Uniting Church, a registered charity which runs more than 70 residential aged care facilities and other community services, has recently entered into an Enforceable Undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman. This is following a remuneration review where they discovered that they had underpaid a number of their staff. Enforceable undertakings are generally accepted as an alternative to civil or administrative action where there has been a contravention of legislation.

Following several complaints regarding underpayment of wages made by a number of employees, Uniting Church embarked on an investigation and identified underpayments of over 9,000 employees to the tune of $3.3 million. Many of these affected employees worked as front-line carers and community and disability service workers and were covered by a number of different Enterprise Agreements.

The underpayments were a result of not:

  • Providing laundry, uniform and vehicle allowances
  • Providing an extra week of annual leave

In this case, because the organisation cooperated with the investigation, and made a strong commitment to rectify all underpayments, an Enforceable Undertaking was appropriate. Uniting has already paid back most workers and is under stringent obligation to ensure future compliance. These obligations include employing an auditing firm to ensure that the organisation complies with all workplace laws over the next two years, and into the future.

Whilst Uniting is a large organisation, this matter serves as a warning to businesses of ANY size. If employers don’t practice workplace compliance, they risk underpaying staff and face a substantial administrative exercise of calculating underpayments, and then back paying any shortfalls in remuneration.

Are you confident that your business is meeting all your workplace obligations?

We understand that the modern award system can be confusing, so we work with you to understand your obligations as an employer under the relevant modern awards.

We can assist you with complying with your obligations under the Modern Award System and National Employment Standards (NES) by assisting you with a thorough remuneration review including:

  • Which modern award(s) apply to your business
  • Reviewing of employee roles and responsibilities
  • Current rates of pay and classifications, casual loadings and overtime rules for employees under each applicable award
  • Any obligations under the NES (e.g. flexible working arrangements, leave rights)
  • Ensuring your employment contracts, and policies and practices remain consistent with all NES obligations
  • How other agreements, such as enterprise agreements and contracts apply if an award(s) already covers your business
  • Which employee(s) might not be covered by a modern award because they are “highly paid”

Want to Know More or Need a Remuneration Review?

Any employers who need help with workplace compliance should get in touch with our HR consultants Brisbane based team, so that we can conduct a thorough remuneration review of your workplace obligations and to ensure that you are not at risk of breaching the Fair Work Act.

The peace of mind that you get knowing that your business is protected is not to be underestimated!