What should you expect from a Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) Inspection?
If prepared a Workplace Relations Commissioned inspection need not be a difficult task for an employer. Specialised HR firm, Aperture Partners Advisory have partnered with the VFI to offer members advice and expertise on employment law. Aperture advises on what to expect when an inspector calls including:
- What will inspectors be investigating?
- What documentation or records will you need?
- Do you have an employee register list?
- What to do if you have breaches?
WHEN AN INSPECTOR CALLS
There has been a steady flow of inspections during 2017, following a total of 4,830 inspections conducted in 2016, 60% of which were unannounced. In our experience, employers have the majority of the documentation in place, such as contracts, rosters and policies. However, the devil is in the detail, and this is where employers are unfortunately found falling short.
What will they be investigating?
Inspectors visit places of employment and carry out investigations on behalf of the WRC to ensure compliance with employment-related legislation. Such investigations involve, but are not confined to, examining books, records and documents related to employment, and conducting interviews with current and former employees as well as employers. An inspector may on occasion be accompanied by other officials. Inspections can commence on foot of, a complaint received regarding non-compliance, as a routine inspection, or, as a part of a WRC compliance campaign which focuses on a specific sector.
What records will you need to submit?
Notably, 62% of inspection breaches recorded in 2016 related to failure to keep adequate records. Thus, once an employer is aware of legislative requirements, and duration to which the relevant records must be retained, breaches regarding inadequate records can be avoided. Typically, we see inspectors requesting the following documentation:
- Copy of the standard terms and conditions of employment and a policies and procedures handbook
- Copy of staff identification and proof of right to work
- Copy of employee documentation to include, among others, time sheets, payslips and gross to net reports and leave records
- Job classification
In addition, an employee register, or a similar record, is required to provide the following information regarding employees:
- Date of birth
- PPS number
- Dates of commencement and termination
- Rate of pay
- Standard working hours
Employees under the age of 18 should be highlighted, or listed separately as the inspector will seek such information to identify if the employer is compliant with working-time limitations for young persons.
What happens if I am in breach of legislation?
Where breaches of legislation have been found, an Inspector may, depending on the section of legislation involved, issue either a compliance notice or a fixed payment notice to an employer. An employer’s failure to comply with such notice can lead to prosecution, with approximately 7% of overall breaches in 2016 resulting in prosecutions. In our experience, this can be avoided if employers cooperate with compliance notices regarding any breaches identified.
In our experience, employers have the majority of the documentation in place. However, the devil is in the detail, and this is where employers are found falling short. Typically, we see employers requested to provide documentation going back twelve months, for current and past employees. The level of detail required regarding, working time requirements, leave and payslips is often under anticipated. An inspector will request that payslips differentiate payment types, for example: “basic pay”, “public holiday pay” and “annual leave”. It is worth noting, an inspector can order the payment of outstanding entitlements within a time-frame relating to to both past and present employees.
Aperture Partners Advisory advises a wide range of clients on a full spectrum of human resources and employment law issues. We provide strategic, and actionable advice to help VFI members deliver effective business solutions to manage their employees. Services offered to VFI members are at an agreed discounted rate. Please contact VFI head office for further details.