The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced audits of more than 200 businesses across the New England and North Westregions of NSW, as part of its latest campaign checking businesses’ compliance with workplace laws.

Fair Work inspectors are auditing businesses across a range of local industries, including agriculture, forestry and fishing; construction; manufacturing; accommodation and food services; and retail.

Inspectors will check that employers are up to date with their obligations, paying employees their lawful minimum wages and entitlements and complying with record-keeping requirements.

The region ranks fifth nationally in terms of the proportion of requests for assistance to the Fair Work Ombudsman from workers aged over 55.

Mature age workers can be vulnerable to being underpaid if they are reluctant to complain due to fears relating to job security.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says it is important that her agency is proactive about checking that workers in the region are being paid correctly.

Businesses found to be non-compliant during the campaign will be required to rectify any breaches and provided with the information they need to ensure compliance going forward.

Ms James warned that serious, repeated or deliberate breaches identified during the campaign could attract significant enforcement action, ranging from the issuing of Infringement Notices (on-the-spot fines) through to litigation.

“While a key focus of this campaign is on educating regional businesses about their obligations and the assistance my Agency can provide, we will not hesitate to take enforcement action where it is required,” Ms James says.

“Business operators risk facing enforcement action if we find significant compliance issues at their business that are a result of them deliberately flouting the law or failing to make a concerted and genuine effort to comply.

“Businesses in the region also need to be aware that, under recent law changes, new higher penalties now apply in relation to certain breaches of workplace laws, including those related to record-keeping.”

The maximum penalties for failing to keep employee records or issue pay slips have doubled to $63,000 for a company and $12,600 for an individual, and the maximum penalty for knowingly making or keeping false or misleading employee records has tripled to $12,600 for an individual.

“With such serious potential consequences for workplace breaches, it is crucial that businesses understand and comply with their obligations,” Ms James says.

All FIAA Members you have access to unlimited workplace advice and can contact FIAA's Head Office to speak with our Workplace Advice Team for assistance on your record keeping and payslip requirements.

For furhter informaiton on the many benefits of FIAA Membership contact our Head Office on 1300 342 248 and a representative will be happy to assist you with your membership inquiry.