Akyra Strategy and Development urges employers to learn about the Queensland Government's new legislation that could see directors and business owners face jail time for knowingly underpaying staff.
In the last sitting before the election, the State Government passed legislation making it a criminal offence for employers who engage in underpayments.
Margaret Goody, Akyra HR Strategist, says the laws need to be at the forefront of employers minds as underpaying often happens accidentally.
"Akyra does not support underpayment of wages nor any breach of Australia’s workplace laws," says Margaret.
"However in our experience, employers almost never deliberately underpay. Whenever we have worked with our clients and a payment issue has been identified, it has been due to either a misunderstanding of the relevant Award or, sometimes, a lack of attention or oversight."
Margaret claims employers need to pay attention to details such as Award wages, which could cause people to make a costly mistake.
"It’s the little things that trip employers into inadvertently paying the incorrect wage in accordance with the Award"
"For example – as a business owner, you might think that, as you pay above the Award, you don’t have to worry about the additional hours that employee works.
"However, if the employee were to be paid in accordance with the Award for all hours worked including penalty rates and overtime, that employer might find the ‘above Award’ wage is actually less than what the employee should be paid.
"It’s a completely honest mistake, however, under this new legislation, it could very well be classed as wage theft and the associated legal complications that come with it."
Now more than ever, employers need to get pays right. This means:
Akrya can work with you to so you are paying wages in accordance with the relevant modern award or enterprise agreement correctly, and demonstrate your business is paying the correct wage or has unknowingly underpaid staff. In the second scenario, Akyra can work with you to develop a communication plan including when the correct rate will be applicable from and when any identified backpay will be processed.
Contact Akyra to book a time to discuss your areas of potential concern (no obligation; no cost) who will then provide a way forward where it might be needed.