Proactive Workplace Audits Now Paused
Australia Post have confirmed they have agreed to put the Proactive audits on hold until further notice. Please be aware this does not include reactive audits which are generally undertaken due to a complaint or external cause. Reactive audits will continue as required.
If you have been under scrutiny for a proactive audit, you should have confirmation directly from Australia Post or from PKF that the process has been paused and you are not required to undertake any further action (including changing or adjusting payments to employees) until a complete resolution has been agreed upon for the industry moving forward.
In 2020 Australia Post commissioned PKF Auditors to undertake Proactive Audits to investigate the level of compliance by Licensees in regard to workplace legislation, in line with the General Retail Award (GRIA) or other awards that relate to the operations of inconjunction LPOs and LPOs with mail contract staff. These audits were inspired by the 7/11 issue where it was determined many franchisees were not paying their staff the correct level of pay for the work performed, and the Government established the Vulnerable Workers Act 2017 to ensure franchise businesses met legislative compliance under the VWA.
As LPOs are covered under the Franchising Code of Conduct, Australia Post as the Franchisor, is obligated to ensure compliance of our network. This requires Australia Post to investigate the pay rates, and payments made to LPO employees.
Due to what would LPOG considers to be a substantial lack of consistency in PKF’s audit reports, LPO Group has been working for some time to have Australia Post suspend the proactive audits until such times as we have had an opportunity to sit down with Australia Post, and a broad cross section of licensees, and other groups, including possibly the Small Business Ombudsman, ARA, FWA and other interested parties, to work through the appropriate GRIA levels to pay staff for the tasks performed in an LPO.
LPOG believes that the only way forward is to have representatives from LPOG, APLAC and POAAL included in establishing base rate categories, so no one representative group can be played off against another. Discussions must be held in the same room at the same time, to work through what are the appropriate levels of the GRIA (General Retail Industry Award) we should be paying our staff, based on the work they are employed to do.
This is a great outcome for Licensees achieved by the LPOG Board on behalf of Licensees.