Insights / March 22nd, 2023

Cowell Clarke’s new digital solution to detect staff underpayments

Media Release

Commercial law firm Cowell Clarke has launched a new service to proactively help employers identify and rectify staff underpayments.

Known as RemCheck, the digital solution reviews timesheet and pay data to highlight risk areas and calculate any shortfalls due to employees.

However, RemCheck goes beyond simple number-crunching, incorporating experienced employment law support to ensure that its payroll calculations reflect any relevant workplace considerations as well as the correct legal interpretation of complex award provisions.

Cowell Clarke Associate Director Cassie Burfoot said RemCheck provides a one-stop solution to one of the most pressing HR issues facing Australian businesses.

“Many unsuspecting employers may be sitting on an underpayment time bomb and at risk of significant back-pay claims, penalties and costly court action,” Ms Burfoot said.

“It’s an issue that has HR managers, business owners and senior executives across a range of industries deeply concerned.

“Payroll reviews are more than a pure mathematical exercise. If the calculations do not have regard to how courts and the Fair Work Commission are interpreting the relevant award provisions, then there is a real risk that the numbers will be wrong.

“By combining specialist legal insight with our data-driven digital solution, we can uncover the true extent of underpayment issues based on tailored, well-reasoned calculations. We then help navigate the best way forward, providing peace of mind for employers.”

With cost of living pressures escalating, there is even more scrutiny on the pay packets of Australian workers, and the Fair Work Ombudsman (“FWO”) is adopting a tougher compliance and enforcement approach.

The FWO reported that $532 million in unpaid wages and entitlements for more than 384,000 workers was recovered last financial year. More than half of the total recovered amount ($279 million) came from large corporate employers. 

As an employment and workplace relations specialist at Cowell Clarke, Ms Burfoot assists employers to understand the current framework of often confusing and ambiguous industrial instruments, such as awards and enterprise agreements. 

She said RemCheck was applicable to any organisation but particularly employers who pay “all-inclusive” hourly rates or annual salaries, and those whose employees regularly work hours that attract overtime, penalty rates and allowances.

David Jones and Politix are the latest employers who have entered into enforceable undertakings with the FWO regarding underpayments of $1.9M and $2.1M respectively.  These employers paid insufficient annual salaries and underpaid key entitlements relating to evening/weekend/public holiday work, overtime and breaks between shifts.

“The aim of RemCheck is to assist employers to get ahead of these issues via proactive payroll reviews. Alternatively we can help employers work out the extent of their liability where non-compliance has been identified,” Ms Burfoot said.

“Whether it is an organisation-wide payroll review spanning many years or a bespoke review of compliance with a particularly tricky award clause, RemCheck can do it all and produces calculations that employers can be confident in.”

Employers can learn more about RemCheck at www.remcheck.com.au.

What is RemCheck?

·       Digital solution which combines payroll data and legal expertise

·       Alerts employers to discrepancies and underpayments

·       Calculates total liability

·       Designed by Cowell Clarke to provide tailored legal analysis and advice

Media contact:

Bianca Buchhorn, Head of Business Development and Marketing.

Ph: 0447 425 167 or email: bbuchhorn@cowellclarke.com.au