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Retail industry under scrutiny

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The Fair Work Ombudsman has announced a national campaign to encourage greater compliance with our new workplace laws within the retail industry.  The retail industry is reputed to be the number one source of workplace complaints; having been responsible for some 4,200 lodged complaints last year and 39 prosecutions in the last four years.

The campaign will kick off with the Fair Work Ombudsman writing to 50,000 retailers and earmarking 1500 retailers at random to supply employment records for audit.  This audit process is designed to flesh out whether employees are being correctly paid minimum rates, penalty rates, loadings and allowances.

This news can be alarming for those who are not familiar with the new workplace laws.  Despite this, retailers ought to view this as an opportunity to get things into order.  This is particularly since the Fair Work Ombudsman has stated that retailers will be provided with an opportunity to voluntarily rectify any minor or inadvertent contraventions found in an attempt to educate employers.

Retail sectors under particular scrutiny include: electrical and gas, computer, hardware, furniture, houseware, manchester, building and garden supplies, entertainment, footwear, clothing, marine, toys, books, watch and jewellery, newsagencies, pharmacies, sport and camping equipment,  floor and textiles, florists and department and antique stores.

The audits highlight the need for all employers to remain cognisant of their obligations under changing workplace laws. Any employer that is not party to a registered agreement has been bound by modern awards since 1 January 2010. For further information on the modern awards, click here.

If you have any queries about your compliance under the new workplace laws, please contact one of our Workplace Relations lawyers.

Author: Katie Sweatman