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Australia’s payroll system needs an overhaul with underpayment a rising concern: Humanforce

Underpayment could cost Aussies almost $2.4 billion per year and never has this been more of a burning question than during a global pandemic


SYDNEY, 23 NOVEMBER 2020: Humanforce, an intelligent compliance and HR tech solution for shift-based workforces, has found a growing number of Australian businesses across the country have struggled when it comes to the ongoing administrative burden of ensuring they remain compliant under Australian employment and workplace regulations.


According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the global pandemic has seen a spike in unemployment, with the unemployment rate increasing to 6.9% and total employment decreasing to 12.5 million Australians across the country.


Out of these, almost one in four working Australians (approximately 2.75 million) are underpaid, despite average full-time weekly earnings increasing by 4.8% to $1,713.90, ABS figures show. Collectively, that means Australian employees are potentially missing out on a total of $2.4 billion in lost wages per year.


The problem is particularly concerning for shift workers and their employers when it comes to ensuring wages are paid correctly. Humanforce’s SaaS employment platform was founded on the vision of helping medium-sized companies and global enterprises across the country make sure employees are paid correctly and on time.


“The road to negligence is paved with good intentions and sadly this is a systemic and persistent problem when it comes to underpayments and payroll compliance in Australia,” said Bruce Mackenzie, founder and managing director of Humanforce.


“The amount of legal traps, jargon and regulatory red tape in Australian employment law means that most employers don’t know the ins and outs of award rates obligations and the technicalities that come with them. And those that suffer are shift workers and their families as a consequence.”


Recent analysis from PwC also reveals the industries most at risk of underpayment with construction the highest risk (estimated $320 million per year in underpayments), followed by healthcare and social assistance ($220 million), accommodation and food services ($190 million) and retail ($180 million).


One key part to solving the issue is helping ensure employers understand their fiduciary duties when it comes to paying employees on time, an issue not helped by the amount of regulatory red tape in Australia’s employment regulations.


Mackenzie said what was most exciting about Humanforce is that it brought a whole new approach to managing payrolls where an employer can simplify the process for themselves and their workforce.


Currently, thousands of businesses of all sizes – hotels to hospitals, resources to recreation, stadiums to shops and more – use Humanforce to get ready for the next shift.


“It’s time to shift up a gear, simplify the process, ensure everyday Australians get paid what they deserve and help local Aussie businesses stay ahead of the curve,” Mackenzie said.


“What’s needed here is a robust framework for ensuring that Australian workers can be paid correctly and on time, as well as having an immediate, automated system – an intelligent platform like Humanforce – that can alert the employer immediately, help them engage and manage their shift based workforce correctly.”