Fair Work Ombudsman's security audit reveals big lift in industry compliance levels


Key results:

  • Almost 400 employer audits completed 75% of employers found to be compliant;
  • More than $427 000 recovered for 658 employees.

The Fair Work Ombudsman initiated the National Security Industry Follow-up Campaign (Campaign 2011) in February 2011.

This campaign was undertaken in response to the findings of the National Security Industry Campaign 2009 (Campaign 2009) which disclosed the sector was struggling to comply with Commonwealth workplace relations laws.

In May 2011 we selected three groups of employers for an Australia-wide compliance audit; Group A, included all employers audited in Campaign 2009 , Group B, employers that we had recently investigated (or were in receipt of intelligence) and Group C, employers that had recently registered their security business with the Australian Business Register.

The audits included an assessment of payslips, time and wage records and an examination of contract for service arrangements against the Security Services Industry Award 2010 and the National Employment Standards as contained in the Fair Work Act 2009. During February 2012, we analysed the findings of the 434 Campaign 2011 audits undertaken.

This analysis showed that we had completed 392 audits and that there were 42 ongoing investigations. Of the 392 completed audits it was found that 295 (75%) employers were compliant and 97 (25%) in contravention.

The compliance rate did not vary much between Group A (73%), Group B (75.3%) and Group C (78.5%). Overall these results are a significant improvement on Campaign 2009, which as at February 2012, when the findings were updated, was found to have a compliance rate of 47%.

However, Campaign 2011 disclosed there is still evidence of businesses reporting pressure to quote tender rates that fall below the minimum entitlements contained in the Modern Award or risk losing tenders.

Of the 97 employers found to be in contravention 59 were identified as having contraventions related to underpayments, while 29 had technical contraventions related to time and wage records or pay slip requirements.

A further nine employers were identified as having both underpayment and technical contraventions. We found a small percentage of businesses engaging contractors only, or both contractors and employees.

Audits of 14 of these businesses remain ongoing as a result of the contract for service arrangements being further investigated.

Three businesses are being further investigated for suspected phoenixing practices; the deliberate act of self liquidating an entity to avoid paying liabilities such as tax and employee entitlements, and replacing it with another to undertake the same function.

As at February 2012,  $427,158  has been recovered for 658 employees.

The marked improvement in compliance levels within Australia’s security industry can be attributed to the willingness of the industry to respond to the education and information campaign developed and implemented by ASIAL and supported by FWO.

The  FWO also consulted SPAAL in March 2011 to discuss their views of the findings of Campaign 2009 and to identify any relevant current issues in the security industry.  As the FWO did in 2009, the Ombudsman attended SPAAL member meetings and addressed SPAAL members about the campaign.

View: Fair Work Ombudsman’s (FWO) National Security Industry Follow-up Campaign 2011 Report


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