Do you earn an annual salary?
You have probably heard lots about wage theft in the news of late. It is the underpayment of award/agreement entitlements and has most commonly arisen where employers have paid an annual salary.
While an annual salary can be used, an employee is always entitled to the minimum entitlements set out in the award/agreement. The only way to check you are being paid correctly is to keep a record of your starting and finishing times each day, along with the time of any unpaid meal break. Those records can then be measured against award/agreement entitlements to determine what you should have been paid. If a shortfall arises between your minimum entitlements and your actual pay, it must be paid by your employer.
Changes to the law
In fact, from 1 March 2020 a number of awards have been varied to include the following requirements for employees on an annual salary:
- A record of how the annual salary is calculated and the upper limit of shifts/ overtime that can be worked in a pay period without being entitled to additional pay;
- If you work more than the upper limit in a pay period you are entitled to the additional pay;
- Each 12 months the employer must conduct a reconciliation of the hours worked against the salary received and if there is a shortfall, it must be rectified within 14 days;
- A record of your starting and finishing times each day, along with any unpaid meal break must be kept and signed off by the employee as accurate each pay period.
Here are the awards that these new requirements have been applied to: Banking, Finance and Insurance Industry Award 2020, Broadcasting, Recorded Entertainment and Cinemas Award 2010, Clerks – Private Sector 2010, Contact Call Centres Award 2010, Horticulture Award 2010, Hydrocarbons industry (Upstream) Award 2020, Legal Services Award 2020, Local Government Industry Award 2010, Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010, Mining Industry Award 2010, Oil Refining and Manufacturing Award 2020, Pastoral Award 2010, Pharmacy Industry Award 2010, Rail Industry Award 2010, Salt Industry Award 2010, Telecommunications Award 2010, Water Industry Award 2010, Wool Storage, Sampling and Testing Award 2010.
The new record keeping requirements are fabulous news for our clients as it should reduce the likelihood of wage theft and make it much easier to action if it occurs. If your award is not in that list never fear, there are annualised salary provisions in a number of other awards including the Restaurant Industry Award 2010 that contain similar record keeping requirements. In fact, we now have a custom underpayment tool to check for underpayments against the Restaurant Industry Award 2010 and we are building more for other common industries.
How you can protect yourself
Here is a handy checklist:
|Check if you are award/agreement covered Does a Modern Award or Enterprise Agreement apply?|
|Ask your employer for a record of how your annual salary is calculated|
|Keep a record of the days, starting and finishing times and unpaid meal break times each day. For now you can do that using the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Record My Hours App. Stay tuned for our app coming soon.
Keep your payslips, download them and store them outside of your employer’s system
|Reconcile your records against the award/agreement and determine any shortfall|
|Notify your employer of the shortfall and ask it to be fixed within 14 days|
Good news! We can help you with all of the steps above, including resolving a dispute that arises over an unpaid shortfall. If you’d like more information you can make an enquiry here contact us, call 1800 RES 123 or book a paid consult with a lawyer here .