I’ve got to say… actually paying people correctly is incredibly complex particularly if covered under awards.
Even with HR and with legal practitioners scrutinising every aspect of current awards, we sometimes are still challenged in the space of paying people correctly, on the right award, with the right rates.
We know that most employers do genuinely want to ensure their staff are getting paid correctly, so here are five things you can do to protect yourself against pay disputes from occurring.
Every year on the 1st of July, new award rates are issued across the board. For those who are covered by an underpinning award, it’s really critical you check those award rates that come out.
Have a look that you’re paying correctly, in line with those increases as they will vary each year.
On a side note – it is also important that you check your above award covered staff as well – particularly given the recent increases over the last few years to ensure that they are still compliant.
Did I say cross-check? Cross check that the Award’s you may be using or are underpinning your award rates are correct and updated.
It is also important to check the classifications are correct to help you avoid underpaying staff.
Different industry awards and different contract types have totally different ways of paying people, so what is considered full-time in one industry, may not be the same in another.
Make sure you understand WHAT the award is you’re covered under. (Need help with this? Click here)
As technology advances, and we have five different generations now working in the same place, people often excel in varied work environments and conditions.
The traditional Monday to Friday work week is starting to exit, and a more decentralised model is now common in the workplace – like working from home, or picking up a Saturday and Thursday night to get every Monday off. Unfortunately, most of our awards do not reflect these flexible working arrangements favourably.
It’s important to ensure you’re not triggering any penalty rates in allowing that. Make sure your rates are consistent with what the award recognises with different days, hours, roles and minimum engagement periods.
To note- the main positions we generally find issues with here are at the Assistant Manager level who may work across a work week including weekends as well as over 38 hours regularly.
Allowances vary as per award. They could be First-aid, Meal, Laundry – or they could be applicable to a particular skill set that you might have.
Conditions may also apply, for example working split shifts, at heights, in certain weather conditions or overnight.
The final things to consider are breaks and the hours that a staff member actually might be doing.
Sometimes, if you actually incorporate breaks, some staff may not actually be working the 38 hours you may be paying…..other times, people may not be taking the right breaks.
Go back and have a look at some of those five things to make sure you are paying people correctly and that you’re reviewing things on an ongoing basis.
Again, cross-check it.
If anything is in doubt, get assistance to make sure you are looking at all of those things and the complexity that sits under those awards you might be under.