In a COVID and post COVID world, working from home has increased and in some parts will remain a way of working going forward. This represents major compliance risks to large organisations. What should you consider when managing a remote workforce to ensure compliance.

Does allowing your employees flexible work hours create back pay risk?

Increasingly workers are working when they “choose” to work, whilst this is often in the best interest of the employee, have you captured this. Examples:

  • Employees who prefer to work late nights or early starts
  • Working split shifts so employees can share home schooling / parenting tasks
  • Some employees prefer to work 1-2 hours on the weekends to lessen hours during the week


All of these “preferences” would normally attract penalties, minimum engagement, or overtime payments. Whilst an agreement may be in place with the employee it is important that it:

  • Must be in writing and signed.
  • Must set out how the agreement results in the employee being better off overall at the time the agreement is made than if the agreement had not been made.
  • An agreement may only be made after the individual employee has commenced employment with the employer.


Key things you must consider in these situations:

  • If an agreement is not in place the employee will be attracting overtime / penalties (and may have a right to claim them back pay if not paid).
  • Is your workforce management system set-up to override the default penalties / overtime in situations when an agreement is in place?

How do your employees capture time when working from home?

The purpose of capturing time is to determine pay, confirm attendance / productivity, and meet record keeping requirements for Fair Work.


With a mobile workforce this can have three key challenges.

  • What technologies do you have that work remotely?
    • Are employees completing electronic time sheets (self-declaration of time worked); OR
    • Do employees need to “time punch” and if so will this be via mobile or other means?
  • What system do you have in place to verify time worked
    • Are you capturing the location of the punch
    • What mechanisms are in place to review / approve time captured
  • Do the records captured meet regulatory obligations?
    • In particular if your employees are covered by Annualised Salary rules they must include Start Time, End Time and Unpaid Break times

Do you have new employees or awards that need to be included in your Workforce Management System?


The combination of working from home and the new annualised salary requirements have meant that time tracking and interpretation is a requirement of more employees.

When adding additional working from home employees to your workforce management system it is important to consider:

  • Does this new employee group have different time capture or access requirements?
  • Do new managers or team lead profiles need to exist?
  • Are new awards or employment classes for these employees required?
    • If so, has the appropriate interpretation been done to understand this?
  • Are new approvals or exceptions required based on working patterns that need to be considered?

Don’t let COVID become your new Workforce compliance issue

ATEO supports the work that most companies are doing in providing flexibility to their workers during these difficult times. Whilst managing the immediacy of COVID, it is important to not let this focus become tomorrow’s compliance problem. If you need help on any of these topics feel free to reach out to the experts at ATEO.

Author: Andy Huang   LinkedIn Logo

Andy manages ATEO’s expert team of Workforce Management Consultants who are focussed on delivering best practise solutions to today’s workforce challenges in Australia and New Zealand. Having previously been Workforce Operations Manager for an ASX200 company, Andy is passionate about implementing practical solutions that automate real world challenges.

Contact ATEO today if you need any advice on automating the common challenges being faced in Australia and New Zealand.