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A HR compliance checklist for Australian workplaces in a COVID-19 world

HR professionals and business leaders find themselves in uncharted waters as they navigate the changes that COVID-19 has forced upon organizations around the world.

Their key priority is to look after employees.

Today, this mission involves a new challenge: honoring workplace compliance laws that are constantly shifting amidst the global turbulence.

Unfortunately, many Australian organizations struggle to abide by workplace regulations – even at the best of times.

In March 2020, the Fair Work Ombudsman released findings from its national audit of 1,217 businesses.

Surprisingly, nearly half of all respondents failed to adhere to the basics of workplace compliance laws (such as paying staff correctly).

Fair Work inspectors issued: 24 on-the-spot fines totaling $32,980 in penalties; 457 contravention letters; 56 formal cautions; and 47 compliance notices. Organizations that breach HR compliance regulations – whether deliberately or inadvertently – face fines, legal expenses, increased employee turnover and brand damage.

Throw a health pandemic into the mix, and the job for HR professionals becomes notably more challenging.

However, while staying on top of regulation changes is difficult, there’s no excuse for non-compliance.

This checklist is for business leaders who want to protect their employees and avoid penalties by meeting all compliance obligations.

For ease of use, we’ve broken this checklist into several key sections, each of which addresses a specific focus area.

 Below is a summary of these sections:

1. Employment laws in Australia

2. Returning to the workplace

3. Working from home (when possible to do so)

4. Payment and leave entitlements

5. Changes to working hours, location or duties

6. Standing down employees or ending employment

If you would like to know more about HR compliance and/or receive a detailed checklist for the above categories please contact our Tax Team Manager – Chris McGuigan at WFS.

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