Payroll Compliance: Fast Food Industry

Cloud-based payroll software can provide a simplified and automated approach to compliance, helping employers to stay up-to-date with the latest regulations under the Fast Food Industry Award.

The Importance of Modern Award Compliance

Modern awards are a vital component of the Australian workplace landscape. They provide a safety net of minimum wages and conditions, including hours of work, leave entitlements and raising concerns about unhealthy or unsafe work practices.

Modern awards also ensure that employees are paid fairly for their skills and experience by setting out classification structures with minimum wage rates. In addition, modern awards can help to promote harmonious and productive workplaces by clarifying employers’ and employees’ rights and responsibilities.

Consequently, modern awards play a crucial role in protecting workers’ rights and promoting fairness in the workplace.
Breaching workplace laws can result in heavy fines. One way to avoid this is to ensure you are compliant with the Fast Food Industry Award, as set out by the Fair Work Act 2009. This includes correctly paying wages and entitlements and applicable penalty rates. Failure to do so could result in a breach of workplace laws, which could have serious consequences.

And if you continue to contravene your obligations in terms of the Fast Food Industry Award, you may face severe consequences for your business, including potentially having to pay back any lost wages and rates to the employee(s). This can be seriously detrimental for most organisations, with additional penalties often ranging from:

  • Fines of up to $12,600 as an individual for each breach
  • Fines of up to $63,000 as a company for each breach.

Biggest Pitfalls in the Fast Food Industry

Along with other modern awards, the Fast Food Award sets out the entitlements and conditions of employment for employees in the fast food industry and includes provisions for things like minimum wage rates, shift patterns and penalty rates.
While you can review the Fast Food Industry Award on the Fair Work website, the document is often filled with complicated legal jargon, making it challenging to understand whether or not your fast food business is meeting all the compliance requirements.
There are several provisions in the Award that are commonly misunderstood or misinterpreted by fast food businesses, resulting in non-compliance.

For example, the Award requires employers to provide employees with a paid 10-minute break for every 4 hours worked. However, many fast food businesses incorrectly assume that this break can be unpaid. This often leads to underpayment of employees.

With a recent focus on payroll compliance from Fair Work Australia and media coverage of businesses guilty of wage theft, it’s more important now than ever that companies understand what’s expected of their obligations when it comes to being compliant with pay rates and employment conditions.
For example, a clerks employee who works more than 10 hours a day (excluding unpaid meal breaks) must be at the overtime rate for any additional hours. Overtime also applies beyond ordinary hours.

This is a common condition in the Clerks Private Sector Award that catches a lot of businesses off-guard.

For example, if a part-time employee works on Wednesday and Thursday between 9 am, and 5 pm, starting earlier at 8 am and finishing at 4 pm will incur an additional hour of overtime even though they’ve worked the same number of hours.
Employers in the fast food industry must also be aware of the potential pitfalls associated with allowances.

Employees are eligible for specific allowances based on their skills or tasks, which can often be significant. For example, if you have staff that are primarily employed to enter cold chambers or to stock and refill refrigerated storage areas, they are entitled to a cold work allowance.

It is common for employers to think that they can add a chunk of money to their employees’ salaries. But that’s not how it works.

This Fast Food Industry Award allowance is paid on an hourly basis rather than as a lump sum, so you must ensure that it is added accordingly to your employee’s wages. It’s your responsibility to pay them each and every allowance relevant to their line of work. Should you fail to do so, you could be subject to some rather harsh penalties.
So, what is the solution? Cloud payroll software and automated time and attendance software.

As any business owner knows, compliance with modern awards is essential in Australia. Not only does it help to protect employees, but it also ensures that businesses are operating fairly and within the law. However, keeping track of modern awards can be challenging, especially for small businesses.

That’s where cloud payroll comes in.

By using cloud payroll, businesses can automatically sync their payroll with the latest modern award rates and conditions. This means that businesses can be confident that they are always compliant, even as modern awards change over time. In addition, cloud payroll offers many other benefits, such as employee self-service and real-time reporting.

Employment Hero Payroll

Employment Hero Payroll’s cloud software automatically applies modern award or enterprise agreement rules to ensure your business remains compliant year-round. 

Beyond that, you can automate your entire payroll process from importing timesheet data, gross to net reporting and leave accruals for all scenarios to super calculations and ATO reporting.


NoahFace Time &
Attendance Software

NoahFace offers an app-based time and attendance software called NoahFace Go which automates scheduling, time tracking and attendance records for site workers. 

In addition, the timekeeping records will automatically integrate with your Employment Hero Payroll cloud software. 


Employment Hero

Go paperless and automate the employee onboarding process with Employment Hero’s employee HR software - an end-to-end people management platform that covers every aspect of the employee lifecycle.

By incorporating everything you need to recruit, onboard, roster, and manage your aged care team, Employment Hero increases efficiency and drives productivity across every aspect of your workforce.


How Pay Cat Can Help

As a business owner, you have enough to worry about without also having to keep track of HR and payroll management. Pay Cat can take that burden off your shoulders by providing an all-in-one system that streamlines the entire process.

Forget about rocky payroll periods and managing multiple software programs. Instead, you can focus on what you’re good at: running your business.
Never get it wrong. No back pay calculations. No inefficient manual interpretation. No data re-entry.

Ensure that you remain compliant with relevant regulations, awards, and employee entitlements with the help of our implementation experts. Maintain the safety of your business by hiring a team that knows how standards differ between sectors.

If you’re interested in moving from a manual payroll system to an automated cloud payroll system, get in touch with us today for a free demo.