With a raft of big retail names underpaying casual employees, a survey from Humanforce has found that 80% of casual workers see negative media coverage of such issues as an influence on their decision to work with that employer.

And there’s no hiding negative media coverage from potential casual workers, with 66% of survey respondents stating they would conduct an online search to research a new casual employer and a further 64% say they would ask for word of mouth recommendations from current or previous employees.

New clauses aimed at reducing wage-theft came into effect on 1 March 2020 for casual employees covered by a Modern Award, with an annualised salary clause that will require more stringent record-keeping and overtime control measures.

Humanforce founder and managing director Bruce Mackenzie said the survey highlighted how negative media coverage can have long-lasting and costly effects on retail businesses.

“There have been a number of cases recently involving local businesses underpaying their casual workers. Negative media attention makes it harder for any business to attract the best casual workers. This comes at a substantial cost considering a reliable and talented casual worker pool is what supports the success of many Australian retailers,” he said.

“By international standards, Australia’s workforce awards and regulations are incredibly complex, which leads to errors. And, with the introduction of new practices for payroll aimed at minimising underpayments and non-compliance with awards, retailers operating without workforce management solutions will face increasing challenges in this area.”

Workforce management solutions help automate and remove errors for time and attendance, rostering and scheduling, payroll, as well as managing awards and compliance.

“While workforce management solutions can support retailers to meet award requirements, it is critical the systems are configured and customised to specifically meet Australia’s workforce awards and regulations.

“Off-the-shelf solutions from global software vendors are not positioned to interpret Australian awards. As an Australian-based workforce management solutions provider, Humanforce has local expertise, knowledge, development and support team on the ground here.”

Beyond an employer’s media reputation, the survey highlighted some incentives that retailers can offer to attract causal staff. When assessing casual jobs and employers, respondents prioritised businesses that offered guaranteed shifts (60%), a positive and fun work culture (54%), wage incentives (52%), flexibility (47%), employee rewards (45%) and premium wages (41%).

This article was first published on retailbiz.com.au.

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