AWA backlog chaos

The Workplace Authority director has admitted that more AWAs are arriving in her office for checking against the fairness test than the office can process each day. So the backlog of unprocessed AWAs is growing.

The Federal Government needs to take action to fix the burgeoning backlog of AWA’s waiting to be checked against the fairness test, a leading business group says.

The Workplace Authority yesterday revealed that it has finished processing only 12,749 AWAs, or just 10% of the 123,100 that have been lodged since the fairness test was introduced.

Of the AWAs processed, 1070 were sent back to employers with advice on how they could be fixed to comply with the test. Most were asked to increase rates of pay for workers.

With more than 30,000 AWAs lodged in August alone, the rate at which the Workplace Authority is working its way through the backlog means many businesses will have a long wait before they know whether their AWAs comply with the fairness test.

If they do not, they may be liable for thousands of dollars in back pay.

Paul Ritchie, a spokesman for the New South Wales Business Chamber, says the government needs to speed up the rate at which the backlog is being processed.

“The challenge is clearly there for the Government to ensure that over the coming months the system moves more quickly and is more responsive,” Ritchie says.

The chief executive of the Council of Small Business of Australia, Tony Steven, says businesses should seek professional advice to ensure they are offering the right amount of money in their AWAs.

And for those who have already lodged their AWAs? Steven’s advice is simple: continue on your old pay rates until your new AWAs receive the stamp of approval.

The figures released by the Workplace Authority yesterday also showed that 5408 AWAs were found to be exempt from the fairness test, and 6237 complied with it.


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