Collecting and maintaining business records is one of the key factors involved in making sure employees receive the correct entitlements. This process is complex in all industries, and especially in industries like the retail industry where the nature of work is very dynamic with complex working patterns.
The Fair Work Act, the FWO Guidance, and the terms of the General Retail Industry Award (GRIA) suggest a set of data (business records) that are required to be collected to describe the terms of employment and the activity of each employee.
Businesses are required to record details of employment for each employee
Employment contract details
An imperfect practice
It’s firstly extremely important to identify that data collection is imperfect in most businesses and errors in business records do exist.
It has proven to be a challenging process for many retailers. Due to human interaction both in the configuration and use of payroll systems there are bound to be errors. It is also expected that errors may occur because software systems are not able to deal with and calculate pay because of these complex working patterns. This could be because of employees swapping shifts, starting at different times to what they are rostered or working past midnight.
Common business record issues we have seen at PaidRight include; incorrect start and finish times, employees not recording when an unpaid break occurred or system errors including duplicate rows of data or overlapping shifts, where for example it shows an employee worked ordinary hours on the same day they had leave.
Addressing issues in business records
These issues create confusion about what actual activity that employee was doing on that day, and makes paying employees their correct entitlements very difficult.
From a PaidRight standpoint, we work with our customers to address these issues so that their business records are accurate and up to standard through a number of approaches including:
Assisting the customer to supply new data
Filtering to exclude data from current analysis and assisting in amending processes for future data collection
Assisting the customer make choices around their data and applying updates along with good data lineage and auditing processes
Customers will often choose a combination of these methods. We always emphasise that issues with business records are best remedied at the source to give the customers and their employees confidence moving forward.
Having an agreed logic for dealing with errors in business records?
Data collection to fulfil business records requirements is difficult. It continues to be a complex process for many in the retail industry, creating confusion and uncertainty internally as businesses don’t know exactly what is required.
So with that being said, similar to the idea of having an agreed logic for interpreting and programming the clauses in the GRIA, should we have an agreed logic on addressing issues in business records across the retail industry? Should there be one clear cut process of going about how to address common errors in the business record fulfilment process.
PaidRight envisions a future where a competition for compliance no longer exists, instead compliance is a given and both employees and employers are confident that their company is paying correctly.
We believe to get to this future we will need to have greater clarity on the way to interpret and program each clause in the award. We believe the community has two options:
wait until the government acts to provide that clarity or,
come together as an industry and put forward a sufficiently specific position on what that program should be.
PaidRight (https://www.paidright.io/) is currently undertaking some research to develop some new tools aimed at supporting Payroll and Finance teams. These tools will help Australian businesses understand and interpret the award they work with so they can have confidence that they’re paying their employees correctly.
To develop the product, we’re speaking with people in finance and payroll teams to understand current processes, pain points and opportunities for improvement within existing processes and systems related to pay. In exchange for your participation, we’ll donate $150 to a charity of your choice.