Underpayments continue to make headline news

Authored By Melissa Hardiman

This wednesday’s Across the MD's Desk webinar opened up a discussion on the importance of ensuring your data on your workforce is regularly audited, you understand the nuances of the contracts you have with workers and, more importantly, the remuneration processes you undertake are compliant.

This was set against the background of the recent Attorney General’s Discussion Paper “ Strengthening the penalties for non compliance” which asked respondents to consider how Fair Work could be strengthened in its role in reviewing wage theft, sham contracting and other mismanagement of workers’ rights.

With the plethora of cases being raised every day it is not unexpected that the questions in this paper focussed on the need to increase penalties – as it does seem, from the outside looking in, that a bigger stick is needed.

Despite efforts of many to say otherwise we, as a sector, take our responsibilities for engaging and managing talent, under multiple arrangements, very seriously and use all possible resources to ensure the modern workforce we manage is treated fairly and with respect. We work continuously to drive this knowledge and leadership into client organisations and beyond, by the example we set.

APSCo Australia had the opportunity to respond to the Attorney General’s Department Discussion Paper, Strengthening penalties for non- compliance, which had a strong focus on the penalties that should be considered for breaches of Fair Work obligations, particularly in relation to wage theft and misclassification of workers and their entitlements.

APSCo Australia, in its submission made a case for education, for additional support for businesses to ensure compliance, for a simplification of the Awards system and for some clarity for financial benchmarks for independent contractors.

APSCo’s tiered, supported approach to business compliance was used as an example of a model platform that could be considered, so that business is supported in its understanding of the complexities of the legislation and not always looking down the barrel of penalties.

APSCo did insist that demonstrable and systemic underpayment of wages and statutory obligations should be dealt with according to the law but that unless this is supported by education and tools to support correction of the issues identified,  ongoing mismanagement will continue to occur.

In this webinar the conversation highlighted the outcomes, to date, of the tiered approach and the market response when issues are found and corrections recommended.

As APSCo Members move through the Code of Conduct, the Business Verification Review, the iEngage module and ultimately the Talent Engagement Standard there are patterns evident in the reports that the Association continues to address for its Members as clearly, the education and support by the regulator is not enough.

This webinar is part of the APSCo Setting the Standard series which is built on the value proposition to staffing and recruitment companies that “APSCo Membership provides your business with leadership in unlocking the potential of the modern workforce through knowledge, resources, quality led assessments and reviews to underpin your organisations’ risk management strategy.”

APSCo maintains that despite efforts of many to prove otherwise, Members take their responsibilities for engaging and managing talent, under complex, multiple arrangements, very seriously and use all possible resources to ensure the modern workforce they manage is treated fairly and with respect. APSCo works continuously with Members and Affiliates to drive this knowledge and leadership into client organisations and to policy makers, by the example we set.

 

Access Wednesday's webinar recording and the presentation here and review what risks your business needs to consider.

APSCo Australia Members can also access the submission to the Attorney General’s office, including the list of APSCo resources available to support Members in unlocking the potential of their modern workforces.

Not an APSCo Australia Member? Find out more about how to get involved here.