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In recent years, there has been a surge in cases of non-compliance with Australian workplace regulations that have been picked up by the Fair Work Ombudsman. Navigating workplace laws can seem like an arduous task yet important to protect the business reputation and eliminate monetary penalties.

This article will outline the common workplace compliance issues and the importance of maintaining compliance.


The key legislations governing workplace laws are:

  • Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)(Fair Work Act); and
  • Fair Work Regulations 2009 (Cth) (Regulations).

Employers must also comply with:

  • National Employment Standards (NES);
  • Modern awards; and
  • Enterprise agreements.

Common Workplace Compliance Issue

  1. Contractor and Employee Classification

The differences between employees, casuals and contractors may be subtle, but important for compliance purposes.

It is important that employees or contractors are classified correctly as their legal entitlements differ. It is for this reason that employment contracts are important as it governs the relationship between the employer and employee and hold details such as the employee’s responsibilities, entitlements and rights.

2. Superannuation

Superannuation is a compulsory system for most employed Australians and residents, that are designed to help you save for retirement. The Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 (Cth) sets out the rules relating to superannuation, including the current superannuation rate. Currently the super guarantee contribution rate is currently 9.5% of an employee’s ordinary time earnings. This rate will increase progressively to 12% by 2025-26.

An employer must make superannuation contributions to their employee’s nominated fund at least four times per year. In addition, accurate and up to date records of all superannuation contributions payments made to the nominated funds or owed to the employees must be recorded.

3. Record Keeping

Record-keeping obligations play a big part in workplace compliance. Generally, accurate records must be kept for seven years.

The records that must be kept includes:

  • Employee details including information about remuneration, leave, pay and working hours
  • Information on superannuation contribution
  • Reimbursements of work-related expenses
  • Workers compensation insurance for each employee

The Fair Work Act and Regulations set out clear record-keeping obligations to be followed by employers. This is where automating this record-keeping process will give the business more efficiency and build in extra safeguards. Investing in resources to ensure records are kept progressively also helps employer gain greater visibility across their business and help them remain complaint with current workplace legislations.

Maintaining Compliance

With many complex workplace laws and regulations, businesses often struggle to keep up and eventually find themselves caught up in brand-damaging breaches and hefty penalties. Workplace compliance is not merely a box-ticking exercise, it goes deep in the business’s culture which requires everyone in the organisation to take a proactive role.

First step to compliance is a thorough review to identify the compliance issues, to be followed with implementing on-going workplace polices and workforce management practices. Wellbeing of employees should be prioritised as it can have a flow-on effect on the business.

Having a qualified legal team in place can also support your efforts to maintain compliance with workplace laws. They can provide you with an overall health check of your business and more importantly:

  • Workplace policies, checklist and employee handbook
  • Specialist review of your current work practices and manuals
  • Concise employment (award covered)
  • Letter of offer template
  • Work, health and safety policies and action plan.

Need help?

Our experienced commercial lawyers can help in compliance matters with ease and speed. We share accurate information and guide you according to your business needs. .To get further advice call our Melbourne commercial law team on 03 9743 1333, our Perth commercial law team on 08 6183 3753 or email .