Back in February you’d remember hearing about the announcement of award rate changes impacting Sunday, early/late night shifts and public holidays worked by those under the following awards:

  • Fast Food Industry Award 2010(the Fast Food Award)
  • General Retail Industry Award 2010 (the Retail Award)
  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010 (the Hospitality Award)
  • Pharmacy Industry Award 2010 (the Pharmacy Award)
  • Registered and Licensed Clubs Award 2010 (the Clubs Award)
  • Restaurant Industry Award 2010 (the Restaurant Award)

The change to the penalty rate for public holidays (for all 6 Awards) and hours in respect to when early/late night penalties will apply (in the Fast Food and Restaurant Awards only) will soon take effect. Therefore, from 1 July 2017 you may need to make adjustments to your payroll and rostering systems if you have staff who fall under any of these awards.

The Fair Work Commission has announced some decisions in relation to Sunday penalty rates, and have released a 10 page summary you can find here. We’ll be releasing easy-to-read industry updates on this in the coming days.

The changes to the penalty rates vary depending on the award and employee’s classification level, which you can confirm via the Fair Work website.

The failure to apply the changes to the penalty rates could result in your business unnecessarily overpaying workers. This could be costly, as under the Fair Work Act employers are unable to recover overpayments mistakenly paid to an employee unless the employee agrees in writing. If they do not agree, then effectively the only way to recover the overpayments is to obtain a court order, which could be an expensive and time consuming process.

Should the Sunday penalty rates be incrementally phased in over a number of years, it will be extremely important that you do not apply the full penalty rate decrease as at 1 July 2017. If you do, you may:

  • Have to back pay employees. Employees can have up to 6 years from the date the amount became payable to make a back payment claim with the Fair Work Ombudsman; and
  • Face court for breaching the Fair Work Act. This could result in a maximum penalty of $300,000 per breach for corporations, or $10,800 for any individual found to be complicit in the breach i.e. Director, HR Manager, Line Manager, Payroll Officer etc.

If you are unsure of how these changes will impact your business or if you need help in updating your payroll systems to accommodate the new pay rates, talk to the team at Workplace Central about the best way to be compliant in your operations.

For customers of Workplace Central’s Workforce Management service, there’s nothing you need to do or change in your work practice because we’re doing it for you. Workforce Management is a complete solution taking care of recruitment, occupational compliance, payroll, human resources, health, safety and workers’ compensation, and reporting. Essentially you’ve got everything covered and you’re future-proofed for any changes to legislation or workplace requirements. You can let the employment experts manage your workforce and you can get back to managing your core business.