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Wednesday, 13 December 2006 06:10

WorkChoices changes yet to hit most payroll departments

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While employers have been quick to complain about the potential IT impact of new payroll requirements under WorkChoices legislation, relatively few have made any effort to update their systems to accommodate the legislation, a new study shows.


A survey of 200 NSW organisations by HR software developer PayGlobal found that 31% of organisations had updated their payroll systems to reflect WorkChoices, while a further 17% were reviewing their infrastructure to see if it was sufficient to match requirements. That still means more than half have made no changes at all.

PayGlobal head of sales and marketing Richard Barrie said that even those figures probably understated the problem, with many companies not appreciating the full extent to which WorkChoices required them to change standard payroll systems.

One requirement of WorkChoices, much criticised by employers, is to track working hours for salaried staff earning under $50,000. The deadline for making that switch was moved to next year after lobbying from business groups.

PayGlobal chief executive Melissa Clark-Reynolds noted that while tracking hours was commonplace in the lowest-paid retail jobs, it was less common in entry-level jobs in other industries.

A key requirement of WorkChoices was to include a weekly hours worked figure on payslips for such staff, but most companies haven't made that switch, she said. The broader cultural change required to define a typical working week was also failing to take place, she said. "Not many companies have thought about what constitutes reasonable hours."

Many businesses were also waiting until firmer case law had been established on the controversial legislation before making major changes. "There hasn't been a rush of new business because of WorkChoices," Barrie said.

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