Updated: Jun 8, 2022
While this report supports my recent comments, Why is Payroll Compliance such a 'dirty' word for Small Business?, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) (and Government) have to accept some responsibility for the outcomes contained within this report. Australia is still in the top 20 of the 2017 Global Payroll Complexity Index from NGAHR but there are ways that this situation can be incrementally improved. Other Government Agencies are embracing digital reforms with much gusto, but the FWO appear to be somewhat dragging the chain.
For many years, I (and others) have been advocating the FWO make available Modern Awards in a digitally consumable form. Simply explained, this would mean every Digital Service Provider (DSP) that develops Business Management Software (BMS) would be able to import into their solutions directly (via an API), the Modern Awards as published by the FWO. It would be a "baseline" data set which would make it easy for a DSP, no matter how big or small to provide consistency within all of the payroll offerings in the market. It would also give an Employer a complete list of all the Modern Awards, Classifications and Base Rates of pay directly within their BMS. The individual DSP could decide how to provide this data within their offerings to differentiate their products and how they would facilitate the best experience for the Employer.
While I appreciate that this would not solve the problem of the Employer not knowing what Modern Award to choose, they would all be available and depending on how the DSP builds their solution, allow guidance for the Employer in selecting the right Award for their Employees. Other significant benefits being as Modern Awards change they could be updated automatically for the Employer.
An API would be a simple place to start as all of the data is already available and would quickly put us on the journey of closing this massive gap and a significant deficiency in the current system. As for simplifying the Modern Awards to make them less abstruse and more efficient for all involved, I will leave that to the Politicians to thrash out because I can imagine that may not be a pretty sight.