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Shift work entitlements and penalty rates are stumping 1 in 2 Australian payroll departments


With employee underpayment scandals occurring with increasing regularity, new research has revealed that 48 per cent of organisations want better information on penalty rates and other shift work entitlements, to enable their payroll departments to do their jobs better.


The research comes from a survey of more than 630 payroll managers by the Australian Payroll Association, Australia’s leading network in payroll training, consulting and advisory for employers.


The results indicated that the building and construction industry most struggled with understanding shift work entitlements: 74 per cent of payroll managers admitting they required more knowledge of this entitlement for better job performance. This compared with half the amount (37 per cent) of payroll managers from the professional, scientific and technical services industries that felt they required more knowledge regarding shift work entitlements, including penalty rates.


The data also revealed which other entitlements payroll managers require more knowledge of. Forty-five (45) per cent need more information about general tax requirements across multiple employee payment categories, 40 per cent need more knowledge of long service leave payment rules, and 43 per cent need more information on redundancy pay entitlements.


Payroll managers in smaller companies of under 50 people were much more concerned about redundancy pay, with 59 per cent declaring it was an entitlement they required more information about to perform their job to a higher standard. This compares to only 31 per cent of payroll managers at large companies with more than 5,000 employers who felt they needed more information on this entitlement.


Tracy Angwin, a leading Australian expert on payroll and the CEO and founder of the Australian Payroll Association, says: “With more and more companies facing Fair Work action as a result of employee underpayments, organisations must minimise the incidence of payroll errors. Payroll managers require proper training and qualification to maximise job performance and accuracy. The Australian Payroll Association offers online and in-person training sessions, as well as formal payroll qualifications for payroll personnel, to help them keep up-to-date with the technical aspects of payroll. We can also help them to find out how they can automate or simplify their payroll processes, as well as optimise their payroll functions.”


Q. Which aspects of awards and legislation around employee payments and entitlements require more knowledge to perform your job to the best of your ability? Choose all that apply

Shift worker entitlements, including penalty rates


General tax requirements across multiple employee payment categories


Redundancy pay


Long service leave


Wages of salary




Annual leave


Sick leave



About Australian Payroll Association

Australian Payroll Association is Australia’s leading network in payroll training, consulting and advisory for employers. It offers end-to-end payroll process reviews, compliance auditing, specialist recruitment services, payroll qualifications and training courses, and a membership program. Established in 2010, Australian Payroll Association offers the only nationally accredited payroll qualifications at Certificate IV and Diploma level through its registered training organisation, Australian Payroll Institute. It also holds annual events including its national conference and end of year seminars, in addition to releasing an annual Payroll Benchmarking Report. It also has a regular digital podcast series called ‘Talking Payroll’. For more information, visit

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