Compliance can be a gruelling uphill battle for hospitality businesses. Heavily moderated and ever-changing, modern awards present a constant challenge, and each year many hospitality businesses are caught out for not operating in accordance with the rules.

Non-compliance and underpayments expose businesses to hefty financial penalties, as well as collateral damage to brand reputation. With so much at stake, many are fighting on the front line of compliance, particularly in the hospitality sector.

The Hospitality Industry General Award (HIGA) is particularly difficult to stay on top of when compared to other awards. Confusion around overtime and penalty rates are contributing factors, and meal breaks and casual conversions are other common compliance battles.

The reality is: non-compliance happens, and it has big consequences. While the majority of employers have the best intentions, many businesses don’t have robust systems in place with built-in compliance checks and risk management procedures to conquer compliance complexities.

Roubler recently collaborated with specialist employment and safety law practitioner Tarsha Gavin from leading law firm Allens to host a free compliance masterclass to discuss compliance in Australia, with a focus on the hospitality industry. Addressing key compliance issues can be incredibly complex – but there is a way to automate processes and reduce risk.

Tarsha explained that employers in hospitality are often caught out when their staff work overtime. Fluctuating demand means staff often end up taking up shifts outside their standard hours. Employers need to be aware of meal break rules when staff work overtime to avoid not only unnecessary expenses, but also non-compliance.

Employees paid under the HIGA must take an unpaid meal break within six hours of clocking on to their shift. If an employer fails to provide adequate breaks, they must pay 50% of the employee’s standard hourly rate until they have a break, or their shift has finished.

Workforce management software with built-in rostering checks and measures can also alert managers if they are trying to roster an employee without the required break in between or during shifts.

In March 2021, the hospitality award was one of more than 80 modern awards to introduce the casual conversion clause. This means casual staff on a fixed schedule may be entitled to permanent positions after working regular shift patterns for at least 12 months.

Roubler’s sophisticated software includes notifications when causal employees have worked 12 months alongside a link to historical shift data for each employee, assisting managers in their decision as to whether to convert them to a permanent position.

Modern awards are reviewed every four years and the responsibility is on employers and payroll teams to gear up for changes ahead of time. With so many awards to keep track of, rolling out changes across your workforce can be incredibly time-consuming.

Roubler includes comprehensive award interpretation that can be rolled out business-wide at the click of a button as the HIGA changes. Potential non-compliance instances can also be flagged at the time of building a roster, so that managers can make decisions accordingly.

If you would like to learn more about how to avoid expensive mistakes and improve the way you manage your hospitality workforce, please reach out to the Roubler team.