Between February and May 2013, FWBC conducted a national targeted audit of record keeping, payslips and base ordinary wages in the building and construction industry. The Audit assessed compliance with sections 45, 50 and s 535 and 536 of the FW Act following evidence from FWBC investigations that employers often failed to maintain compliant records and issue payslips.
The objectives of the Audit were to:
educate employers and employees about their workplace rights and obligations
assess employment records for compliance with the base ordinary rate and compliance with record keeping and payslip obligations
resolve identified contraventions through voluntary compliance.
How companies were selected
FWBC selected some companies at random but also used other criteria to select businesses for audit, such as:
information received from other government agencies e.g. DIAC and FWO
information gained from prior FWBC site visits from both head contractors and subcontractors regarding participation on a project
information gained from previous investigations
information received via the FWBC 1800 Hotline
general research including identifying companies through the ABN Lookup website and companies previously found to be in contravention of the FW Act recorded in FWBC’s internal database.
National Outcomes for Audits
The approach to businesses
FWBC sent a letter notifying selected employers about the audit. Included was a ‘question and answer’ document, explaining how the audit would be conducted.
Due to the separate industrial jurisdictions that exist in Western Australia (WA), FWBI Inspectors contacted companies in WA to establish whether they fell within FWBC’s jurisdiction. Once this was determined, FWBC sent a letter outlining the requirements of the audit.
FWBC found employers to have a good understanding of their obligations in relation to record keeping. Identified breaches were typically due to a technicality such as failing to record superannuation or the date of a payment period.
Where contraventions occurred, FWBC found they were primarily due to an employer’s lack of knowledge, or mistaken application of an award or agreement. Once assisted and given information, all employers rectified the breaches, including changing processes to become compliant.
As a result of the Audit:
70 monetary contraventions were identified
underpayments totalling $245,304 were recovered for 406 employees
88 non-monetary contraventions of workplace laws were identified
10 audits are ongoing
Fair Work Building Industry Inspectors worked with employers to help them better understand why contraventions had occurred and implement changes to avoid future non-compliance.
The results of the Audit indicate a good level of compliance among the employers involved. The findings do not indicate widespread non-compliance with workplace laws. FWBC has identified that more education is needed as most contraventions and underpayments arose from genuine mistakes or ignorance of requirements under workplace laws.