22 April 2020

Dr Tess Hardy: “Even before the pandemic hit, big business was complaining that ‘inadvertent’ payroll mistakes were due to an overly complex industrial relations system. Some, including head of the FWO Sandra Parker, were sceptical of this excuse. But, given that the regulatory framework has now changed at breakneck speed, the workplace relations system is in a state of flux. … [T]here is likely to be continuing uncertainty on the part of employees, employers and their representatives about how these changes apply to their particular circumstances. More worrying, however, is the way in which apparent ‘confusion’ regarding the new system may be used as a cover for deliberate abuse of freshly minted rights and entitlements. … The COVID-19 crisis means that employers are less likely or able to comply with their workplace obligations. Employees are more vulnerable than ever. Rather than deferring reforms to the compliance and enforcement framework, they need to be urgently put back on the government agenda.“ (Read the full article for specific concerns about the role of the ATO and the impact on vulnerable workers.)