Payroll Compliance: Legal Industry

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

The Importance of Modern Award Compliance

Modern awards are an essential part of the Australian industrial landscape. They provide a safety net of minimum entitlements for employees and help to ensure that workers are treated fairly and consistently across different industries.

Award compliance is therefore essential for businesses operating in Australia.

Failure to comply with modern award requirements can result in significant penalties, including fines of up to $63,000 per breach and back-pay orders.

In addition, non-compliance can damage a business’s reputation and make it difficult to attract and retain good employees. Therefore, it is important for businesses to familiarise themselves with the relevant modern award requirements and to ensure that they are compliant at all times.

In the legal services industry, this is no exception, making it crucial that you – as a business – know where your responsibilities sit.

Biggest Pitfalls in the Legal Services Industry

The Legal Services Award is the key instrument governing the wages and conditions of employment for lawyers and legal support staff in Australia. The award sets out the entitlements and obligations of employees and employers in relation to a number of key areas, including hours of work, annual leave, sick leave, superannuation, and long service leave.
While you would think that lawyers would be on top of the law, they too often find themselves making significant payroll errors - thanks to manual payroll processes.

There are several provisions in the Award that are commonly misunderstood or misinterpreted by legal service businesses, resulting in non-compliance.

For example, law firms should also be aware of the potential pitfalls associated with annualised salaries.
On 1 March 2020, the Fair Work Commission introduced new annualised salary provisions into various Modern Awards. The recent annualised salary changes introduce various processes that employers must follow to ensure that their annualised salary arrangement doesn’t disadvantage their employees.

For example, employers must ensure that a salary staff’s annual wage can’t be less than what they would’ve been paid over the year if they were paid all the award entitlements for their job.

Another major pitfall is modern allowances.

Employees are eligible for specific allowances based on their skills or tasks, which can often be significant. 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.

For example, where an employer requires their employee to temporarily work away from their usual workplace and sleep away from their usual home, they are entitled to three different allowances:

  • fares allowance: which covers all fares to and from the temporary place of work;
  • travelling time allowance: in addition to the fares allowance, the employee must also receive payment (at their ordinary rate) for the time spent travelling between their usual workplace and the temporary location;
  • and board and lodging allowance: where the employee has to sleep away from their usual home, the employer must cover all the reasonable expenses incurred for board and lodging.

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 the world of business changes, so too must the way companies manage their payroll. In the past, payroll was a time-consuming and error-prone process, often reliant on paper records and manual calculations.

However, with the advent of cloud-based payroll software, businesses now have a simpler and more automated approach to compliance. Cloud-based payroll software provides a centralised platform for managing employee pay and benefits and can help automate many of the tasks associated with payroll processing. As a result, businesses can stay compliant with changing regulations while also freeing up time and resources that can be better spent on other business areas.

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

If you’re like most business owners, managing HR and payroll is a time-consuming and complicated process.

That’s where Pay Cat comes in.

We offer an all-in-one system that makes it easy to manage your employee information, process payroll, and stay compliant with government regulations. With varying modern awards and industry regulations to get your head around, we understand that working out your obligations as an employee can be overwhelming.
Let our implementation specialists ensure your business remains compliant and in line with relevant regulations, awards and employee entitlements.

Our team of experts can help you stay out of the danger zone and on track with industry-specific standards.

Never get it wrong. No back pay calculations. No inefficient manual interpretation. No data re-entry.

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.