Following a precedent set by a number of fast-food retailers, catering and cleaning services company Spotless has announced it will audit all employment records in a move aimed at ensuring its 30,000 employees are being paid properly.
The organisation is collaborating with the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) in a voluntary agreement to self-audit a sample of 1,500 workers across its two entities to ensure employees are getting their full entitlements. Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson said the company’s decision to sign a Pro-Active Compliance Deed is a welcome move, and makes it the fourth major Australian employer to do so. “We congratulate Spotless for showing corporate responsibility to the thousands of young and casual workers on its payroll,” he said. When in mid-2011 McDonald’s signed the first Pro-Active Compliance Deed, FWO said it set a precedent for all companies large and small to follow.
Under the latest Deed, Spotless will audit a sample of employment records from between 13 June and 1 November 2011. The process is expected to take until the end of June, after which the company will provide a report of its findings to the FWO.
In independent internal pay audits, firstly a review of the current industrial instrument that applies to the individual workforce – such as an award enterprise agreement or employment contract – is carried out. Then typically the award classification are reviewed to ensure the employee is classified at the correct level and receiving the correct pay rate, penalties and allowances, including the transitional items where appropriate.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) recently announced that in 2011 employers failed to pay more than half a billion dollars in superannuation to employees and will now have to find the money to back-pay. The ATO flagged the hospitality and real-estate industries as “higher-risk” sectors for not paying full superannuation entitlements, which are currently at least 9%. Other industries named included hairdressers and beauty specialists, building and construction companies, road freight groups, mechanics, and hotels and motels.
Notably, the latest Deed follows some 200 complaints to FWO from employees of Spotless-owned companies over a six-year period resulting in back-payments of $200,000.
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