It’s no secret that contract cleaning and facilities organisations have faced a challenging year and a half.
Whether it’s quickly adapting to accommodate stringent COVID-19 hygiene regulations or dealing with mixed operating conditions, commercial cleaning organisations have been in the spotlight, including as one of Fair Work Ombudsman’s (FWO) top compliance and enforcement priorities for 2021-2022.
Australia has one of the most complex employee relations systems in the world with its modern award requirements, enterprise bargaining agreements (EBAs), and often sudden and dramatic developments in compliance legislation.
Relying on manual processes or outdated technology to comply with awards and other employee legislation can exponentially increase your exposure to risk, and frequently leads to costly errors.
As Fair Work begins closely monitoring the contract cleaning sector, it’s becoming increasingly important that organisations implement and maintain proactive compliance processes.
Whether you’re a small organisation or a large enterprise, you rely on your workforce to provide optimum service as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. A compliant business is ultimately more efficient and provides better service – all at a lower cost.
You don’t know what you don’t know
Managing a workforce is complex enough, but as Gideon Joseph, Practice Director at UKG, notes, “You also have to ensure that when you’re rostering people, you’re not just meeting compliance obligations under the Industry Award, but also complying with all relevant health and safety requirements.”
Those can include obligations around mutual variation agreements, proper enforcement of breaks during the day, proper training and licencing, he says.
Without visibility into your workforce, your organisation may be unaware of non-compliant practices taking place, including unauthorised timecard edits, modern award agreement infringements (including better off overall failures), and scheduling violations.
With compliance audits from Fair Work expected to become more commonplace, contract cleaning organisations will benefit from a clear record of employee movements, edits, and changes to employee profiles or attendance information, as well as a robust award interpretation engine.
As Fair Work continues to drive compliance and accurate award interpretation, it is imperative that organisations in this industry implement systems to help reduce risk and automate manual processes.
Spot the signs
Out-of-date technology, manual or paper-based processes, and disparate systems are common causes of workforce compliance risk in contract cleaning.
Here are a few warning signs that indicate you need to improve compliance:
- You’re lagging on reflecting changes to legislation, industry regulations, or updates to awards or agreements. Rules and regulations are everywhere – rest periods, shift breaks, allowances for items such as broken shifts and meals, and beyond. With manual or outdated systems, maintaining compliance and adhering to shifting labour regulations is a daunting task.
- You’re experiencing errors in payroll that cost both your employees and organisation in time, money, and resources. Additionally, you have little to no visibility into clear records of time and location worked, and there is suspicion of manual reporting being manipulated or misunderstood.
- Your organisation uses disparate systems, with multiple sources of truth. If you have no easy mechanism for pulling information across your business, you may always be challenged to create accurate, compliant schedules. Without real-time visibility into when — or if — employees are clocking in for their scheduled shifts, you may also regularly experience times when you don’t have enough staff working.
- You don’t have a single source of truth for storing employees’ qualifications and certifications, which means your employees are often misclassified in their role or skills. With high employee churn, it can be difficult to maintain correct classifications, risking under or over payments and compliance violations.
Gideon agrees the need for integrated, automated people management is particularly acute in the Australian context.
“Australia has one of the most complex employee relations systems in the world with our Award requirements and the various other overlays,” Gideon says.
“That’s why UKG invests hundreds of millions of dollars each year in R&D to ensure that our product is compliant and efficient from a legislative and regulatory perspective.
“Especially if businesses want to scale, they still have to scale in the Australian context – and that’s where I think that solutions like what we offer are crucial in alleviating the manual workload that comes with complex compliance arrangements.”
In this constantly changing environment, it’s crucial to stay on top of new and evolving compliance laws, especially as it relates to human resources and payroll teams.
A cloud-based solution that stores and maintains all workforce, payroll, and human capital data results in historical and current information that is visible and accessible, with reporting at the glance of a dashboard.
UKG solutions enable you to:
- Keep pace with ever-changing government and industry regulations
- Manage and monitor all time worked for your employees
- Manage budget costs against contracts for full financial visibility, ensuring you can build a roster to reflect planned activities
- Leverage real-time employee data to better manage compliance across your organisation, especially around certifications and qualifications
Without the right workforce solution in place, your organisation could be at risk for compliance violations and subsequent financial challenges.
UKG helps you minimise compliance risk by simplifying, streamlining, and standardising processes, with an experienced team to support you every step of the way.
This first appeared in the September/October issue of INCLEAN magazine.
Read the original article here.