How to avoid being a headline

Every week yes, every week, Fair Work Australia releases the name of yet another business who is guilty of wage theft.

I believe it’s time people started looking at wages from a different perspective.  Not as a draining cost to a business, but as a fair transaction that provides value to your business.  You have the privilege of people believing in your vision and joining you in building your business and providing you with their loyalty.  In return you have an obligation to know and understand the legal structure which sets out what you must pay your people for a fair day’s work.

What is a fair day’s work?

Yes, we can define it in hours, but an employee also needs to know what the expectations are of them while they are employed by you.

  • What’s their role?
  • When do they work?
  • Where do they work?
  • Do they know if they are fulltime, part time or casual?
  • Is it a contract role with a start and finish date?

Which Modern Award is your workplace governed by?

The Awards that apply to your business are critical “Books of Rules” to help you pay your employees correctly and keep you sweet with Fair Work Australia.

  • Which modern awards cover your place of employment?
    • Are your employees skilled and doing the work described in the selected awards?
    • Do you have a copy of the Awards onsite at the primary place of business?
    • Do you ensure that you are across any updates to awards so you can implement changes?

How do you do things in your workplace?

Every workplace operates with its own nuances – this is what makes each place of business unique and we call this culture.  Ensure your employees know what is expected of them so they can fit in, stay safe and in turn grow your workplace culture and your business success.

  • Provide your workplace policies from the first day and update them regularly to reflect any changes
  • Procedures to follow when doing work
  • How your workplace sets, creates and empowers a safe culture of work through a HR and Workplace Safety framework

Build a welcoming culture from Day One

We all know that a team that feels valued and included performs at a consistently higher level. It pays to welcome your team members into your culture and its ways of doing business:

  • Induction Checklist – so they become immersed in your business
  • Job Description – so they are clear what you expect of them
  • Welcome Pack – so they know you are working to make them feel part of the team and part of the brand

Beware these common traps

When I look at businesses who get in to trouble with Fair Work Australia, there are key mistakes that are made time after time.

  • Pay rates are not aligned to the skill level of the employee
  • Annual wage rates rises are not applied
  • Ignoring and not paying the allowances listed in the modern award
  • Junior employees; not applying the pay rate rise when they click over a birthday
  • Shift Allowances not applied
  • No employment contracts underpinning the employment arrangement
  • No job description setting out the outcomes of the role

Invest the time getting your wages and allowances right and treating your employees as assets rather than liabilities and watch your business grow.



Author: Corina Vucic
I thrive in an active environment and climb bridges for the thrill of it but my real passion is supporting businesses to meet their potential and flourish. Whether your goal is to franchise your business, take your franchise to the next level or simply move your business in another direction, I can lead, support and motivate you, step-by-step.