ABCC Update – Cautionary tales for employers in the building industry

ABCC Update – Cautionary tales for employers in the building industry

The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) has recently released its July Industry update, which identifies several issues that should be of concern to employers engaged in the building industry.

The ABCC recently undertook audits of employers and subcontractors, focusing on those involved in the construction of apartment blocks.

The auditors’ findings were that 77% of finalised audits indicated employers were non-compliant with Australian workplace laws.

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Perhaps more concerning were the auditors’ findings that 39% of non-compliant employers failed to pay their employees correctly.

The most common issues identified included:

  • Failure to pay the correct base rate of pay, overtime, or penalty rates;

  • Failure to pay the correct award and agreement allowances, including travel, meal allowance  and multi-story allowances; and

  • Incorrect classifications of employees under the relevant industrial award or agreement.

In most situations, the ABCC is willing to work with employers to ensure that correct entitlement are paid without the imposition of additional penalties.

Employers are reminded that contraventions of the Fair Work Act 2009 can attract fines of up to $66,600 for corporations and $13,320 for individuals.

The auditors also found that 38% of non-compliant employers failed to comply with the record-keeping and payslip provisions contained within the Fair Work Act 2009 or their award or enterprise agreement.

Some of the case studies produced by the ABCC included an employee engaged on a four-week trial and paid less than the award rate for a trade casual assistant, whilst a group of other employees were not being paid the applicable overtime rate after working beyond their ordinary daily hours.

Workforce Advisory Lawyers recognises the complexity and confusion that can exist for employers when applying award and agreement conditions and has developed an auditing tool that will assist principal contractors in monitoring the performance of subcontractors in relation to the payment of wages and entitlements, superannuation, insurances and WorkCover.

Industry Update – July 2021 Edition | ABCC

For questions about employee entitlements, auditing, or other employment questions, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 0417 622 178, 1300 WAL LAW or via email to

Disclaimer: This information is provided as general advice on workplace relations and employment law. It does not constitute legal advice and it is always advisable to seek further information regarding specific workplace issues. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

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