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How a WorkForce Management Solution Can Solve HR and Payroll’s Biggest Compliance Challenge

May 5, 2021

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The past year introduced countless challenges for organisations with rostered or hourly workforces with downturns, lockdowns and the uncertainty of a global pandemic pushing businesses, who were already juggling complex workplace laws and pay rules, into uncharted territory. New annualised salary and minimum wage rules introduced by the Fair Work Commission complicated the compliance landscape even further, so much so that the government is now taking a closer look to see how businesses in the most affected industries can stay in line with regulations.

Human resources and payroll departments balance this vital responsibility of maintaining compliance while providing a positive, engaging employee experience. Recently, WFS: A WorkForce Software Company hosted a virtual session with a panel of HR and payroll executives to provide valuable best practices for addressing the complexities surrounding payroll compliance.

The audience of our virtual panel session responded to several live poll questions, the results of which are rather telling. Almost half of the audience (49%) reported that navigating complex pay rules is their biggest challenge in maintaining payroll compliance, followed by completing time sheets without human error (22%). A smaller number of attendees said that adapting to changing wage laws and allocating time and resources were their biggest challenges, with 16% and 13% respective votes.

“For us, it’s around the interpretation of the complex enterprise agreements. That’s the biggest compliance challenge,” said panellist Michelle O’Connor, General Manager of Payroll Service at Downer. She continues, “Over the last year—and maybe a little bit longer—the spotlight is now on payroll because if organizations aren’t investing in their payroll’s teams and systems, then they’re going to be behind the eight ball.”

O’Connor lamented the challenges that come with receiving an interpretation of a complex enterprise agreement and then building out the system to accurately interpret that clause without having manual workarounds in place. Panellist Michelle Arnold, Head of Payroll Services at Hammond agreed, saying that “as employers, we need to be lobbying Fair Work in all the different departments that we can. Our biggest challenge is to simplify our agreements.”

Arnold stresses the topic even further, “In many other businesses, you will find that you have to rely on someone in HR interpreting [an agreement] or waiting for someone for two weeks to come back to you with an answer,” she said. “I think that if we can achieve anything over the next couple of years, it’s making sure that businesses understand the importance of the function of payroll so that they’re not caught out with underpayments.”

Panellist Matthew Robinson, Partner and Accredited Specialist (Employment & Industrial Law) at FCB Workplace Law added to the conversation in agreement, “There is a huge number of compliance projects that we have where an enterprise agreement—or even just the way in which workforce planning has been managed—has been set up by operations, and there is a clear gap between operational implementation and setting up appropriate payroll rules.”

How a WorkForce Management Solution Can Help

With these important pain points from our panellists in mind, what can be done to automate the process of navigating complex pay rules and eliminate manual processes and workarounds?

The right workforce management solution can provide pre-built best practices to automate applicable labour laws as well as common business and enterprise agreement rules. In addition, flexible and configurable workforce management software can automate all unique award and enterprise agreements, contract rules and internal policies. The right solution can drastically reduce error-prone manual processes by obtaining accurate time data with diverse time capture options, streamlining approval processes and automatically calculating hours worked against every pay rule for accurate and consistent payments.

Investing in your in your HR and payroll departments by providing your workforce with the technology tools they need to be successful will go a long way in addressing the complexities surrounding today’s complicated payroll compliance landscape. To discover the other best practices discussed in our virtual panel session, watch a replay of the on-demand webinar or download our factsheet, Three Insights to Help Solve Payroll Compliance for a Rostered Workforce.

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