The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has recently commended McDonald’s Australia for conducting a self- audit on its employees’ wages and other entitlements, leading to improved workplace relations for the 90,000-strong restaurant chain.
McDonald’s had agreed to participate in the self-audit following an unsuccessful attempt to have an enterprise agreement approved by Fair Work Australia. Although the enterprise agreement was approved on appeal, McDonald’s agreed to enter into a Deed to achieve two compliance activities:
- Create an internal reporting process enabling employees to query their workplace entitlements; and
- Undertake a self-audit of a proportion of employees (selected by FWO).
A first for FWO
The agreement was captured in a Pro-active Compliance Deed which was the first of its kind for FWO. The final report prepared by FWO in December 2012 stated that the “… responsive, self-regulated compliance activities…have undoubtedly improved the way in which McDonald’s manages workplace relations both internally and externally.”
Following the completion of the self-audit McDonald’s put a number of improvements in place to facilitate both future compliance and efficient resolution of employee complaints. In addition it had established a collaborative approach with FWO that resulted in 11 out of 21 complaints made by McDonald’s employees in the period 1 January to 31 December 2012 being voluntarily rectified, with only four matters remaining active at the time the report was published.
Make mine a Happy Deal
It is clear that an employment self-audit arrangement can be a win-win for employer and employee alike.
The self-audit demonstrates that an employer takes its compliance with workplace laws seriously, and sets the company in good stead in the event of a complaint by an employee. In addition, the employer is likely to enjoy an enhanced reputation in the marketplace.
Meanwhile, employees can have greater confidence that workplace relations and compliance are a priority for their employer.
If you would like to discuss how to conduct a self-audit of your business or any other workplace issue please contact us.
Christine Broad, Solicitor, BlandsLaw