ACAPMAs Assisted Compliance Audit program is a comprehensive desktop audit that does more than identify problems, it works with the businesses to deliver solutions to close the gaps and deliver demonstrable compliance.  The 2019/2020 Audit year is about to commence, and as many sites look at undertaking their second or third audit, some may question why they should bother with compliance audits every year.  The short answer is, because compliance is a moving target and the only way to ensure the systems in your business are working is to regularly review them.  This is a lesson that one business learnt the hard way.  As this months ACAPMA Audit Case Study explores…

Case Study

ACAPMA audited a group of sites, their experience highlights again why annual checks are important.

The situation

The business had been audited in the past, by ACAPMA, and received a positive report and confirmation that the payroll system was operational and appropriate.  Based on this assessment the business was reluctant to be audited again.

The business decided to undergo the audit, and as part of the audit it was highlighted that the payroll system and the rates applied more recently, represent an underpayment within the business. 

This sort of underpayment is not uncommon and pertains to a misapplication of the shift loading rates and does not represent a malicious act. 

The business was understandably confused at being presented with an underpayment, particularly given the previous positive audit outcome, and was genuinely distressed at the idea that they had inadvertently underpaid some staff.

So what went wrong?

At the core of this case was a change to the nature of the way work was undertaken at the sites between the initial audit and the subsequent one. 

At the time of the initial audit the business engaged only 2 permanent staff, both site managers working only day shifts, at the time of the reaudit this month the business engaged over 24 permanent staff working day, afternoon and night shifts in a variety of roles.

The result of this change to the operation at the business level from casual staff to permanent staff,  is that the shift loading, that is applicable only to permanent employees working shifts that commence after midday on a weekday, was not assessed or applied correctly within the business.

Addressing issues

The business is engaging with ACAPMA to address the underpayment and to implement a Flexibility Agreement that will allow for the creation and application of a racked rate for each employee that represents the roster that they work and includes the shift loading in a way that their simple payroll system can accommodate.

Learnings for all businesses

The takeway for all business is;

  • Any change to operations within the business has implications – changing from casual to permanent employment has significantly different employment compliance requirements and should be undertaken with guidance and care
  • A clean bill of health for a business only applies to the business as assessed, at that time – compliance requirements, and business realties change rapidly and a business that was “all good” can quickly develop an underpayment situation is they are not regularly reviewing both the compliance requirements and the business realities

Case Study Summary:  This business did ACAPMA Audit a couple of years ago and didn’t want to have to do it again, but did it anyway and found that due to changes in the business (using more permanent staff) the business had gone from a clean bill of health on employment compliance, to underpayments that could have resulted in millions of dollars worth of fines and damage to their reputation as committed to compliance.  Directors were devastated, and now see the value of checking in with compliance annually, even when everything passes the audit the year before.

ACAPMA Assisted Compliance Audits

The ACAPMA Assisted Compliance Audits are more than just a tick and flick exercise, and more than a listing of things to fix, they are part of the Association delivering on its core function of actively working with Members to ensure they understand and can demonstrate compliance. 

The ACAPMA Assisted Compliance Audits supply participating sites with resources, templates, documents and the advice and support of ACAPMAs qualified Employment Professionals. 

ACAPMA Assisted Compliance Audits are available to ACAPMA Members at a cost of $385 inc GST per site. 

For more information on the ACAPMA Assisted Compliance Audits please email employment@acapma.com.au