HR Health Check

Following on from our newsletter on 13 August 2020, the FWO has announced that another NFP has been found to underpay staff. BaptistCare NSW & ACT now have to:

  • back pay more than 2000 current and former employees a total of $1.279m;
  • make a $40,000 contrition payment into the Commonwealth’s Consolidated Revenue Fund;
  • fund an independent organisation to operate a Hotline for the next four months; and
  • display public, workplace and online notices detailing its workplace law breaches and apologise to workers.

The FWO’s focus on Award compliance has prompted many employers to review their employment arrangements and many are shocked to find that they are not conforming with their obligations.

Getting the right advice

In our experience, many employers have not sought professional advice about what they have to do with regards to their employees or, they have relied on hearsay to establish their recruitment, pay and administration processes. Relying on poor advice is no defense if you are found to breach your obligations and substantiable penalties can apply.

The Modern Award framework is not as complicated as many people think. It is different to the way many people see employment arrangements in the media and in other countries. If you become familiar with the way your relevant Modern Award works, it can be enormously helpful to your operations and you are less likely to fall foul of the FWO.


In this update, we take a quick look at some hot points in your employment administration that may need your attention. If you don’t tick all the boxes in the attached checklist, we recommend that you seek professional advice about your employment arrangements to avoid the pitfalls that a number of NFPs have recently faced.

The checklist is formed from the obligations that are prescribed in the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act), the Fair Work Regulations 2009 (the Regulations) and the good practice standards that arise from decisions of the Courts and Commissions.

Regardless of the outcome of any employee claims, if you are found to have breached your obligations under the Regulations, civil penalties may apply and both the organisation and individual officers can be found liable.

If you are unsure of your organisation’s obligations to employees under the FWA, the relevant modern award or a workplace agreement, we can assist you to understand your obligations and assess the risks to your organisation.

You can contact us on (07) 3160 0010 or at