The voice of modern Australian retail
Some weeks ago, the NRA made the difficult decision to step away from merger talks with the Australian Retailers Association because of our concerns that the proposed new body would effectively result in a takeover by a small number of unelected large retailers.
We were very concerned that small and medium businesses – the engine room of Australian retail – would have been swept aside by a small group of large and powerful interests.
Our concerns seem to have been realised, with drastic changes set to be announced to the structure and leadership of the ARA.
I want to thank NRA members for your support in relation to our decision, and assure you that your association will continue to represent the interests of all businesses and the industry as a whole.
The NRA is the voice of modern Australian retail.
Industrial relations laws in Australia can be highly complicated, but it’s something which all businesses need to understand and comply with.
Wage compliance is a topic which has been in the media a fair amount over the last year and has reared its head again last week with claims of underpayment by Rockpool Dining Group. There’s no denying the complex nature of the Modern Award system provides rather onerous terms and conditions regarding worker entitlements. However, given ignorance of the law isn’t an excuse that cuts it with either the Fair Work Commission or the general public, all retailers need to be alert and proactive when complying with responsibilities regarding employees’ pay.
The Modern Award system is highly complicated and often difficult to navigate and so underpayment issues could easily happen to any Australian business. From our experience, when underpayment does occur, it is usually detected by the business in question who then self-report to the Fair Work Commission. In most cases, the employer then makes every attempt to identify the size of the discrepancy and ensure that all past and present employees are back-paid the correct amount.
Unfortunately, most of those points above often get overlooked when an underpayment claim makes headlines, so it’s desirable for everyone – business owners and employees – if the right payment is made the first time around.
With the Christmas holidays almost upon us, now is a good time to make sure that you and your systems are up to speed with your compliance obligations. This period comes with a raft of public holidays, as well as possibly seeing your business trade in hours it otherwise wouldn’t, which may mean a change in worker entitlements.
I urge all of you to perform a thorough check on your payroll systems to ensure you’re complying with your responsibilities. If you’re unsure of any obligation then make sure to contact the National Retail Association to seek support and advice if required.