The former Fair Work Ombudsman, Natalie James, recently warned employers against a “set and neglect” mentality (ie setting up employment systems to comply with legislative requirements without reviewing those systems and requirements from time to time).

Serious problems may arise if those systems are either:

  • based on fundamental misunderstandings about applicable laws, awards, enterprise agreements and contracts of employment and the ways they interact; or
  • not reviewed and updated regularly.

The Fair Work Commission is currently in the process of completing the 4-yearly review of all Awards.  Several Awards have already, and many will shortly, be substantially amended.

It is accordingly important for all employers to:

  • ensure that they are aware of the relevant Awards applying to their operations;
  • understand how their contracts, enterprise agreements, Awards and the National Employment Standards interact;
  • ensure that their payroll systems correctly apply the provisions of the NES, employment contracts, Awards and any enterprise agreements; and
  • monitor changes that may be made to the laws and to Awards (and particularly those that arise as a result of the 4-year review).