387 – 5 HR Compliance Mistakes You’re Making and How to Fix Them

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Navigating human resources (HR) compliance can be a daunting task for trade business owners. A recent discussion on The Site Shed podcast shed light on the common pitfalls in HR, particularly focusing on compliance mistakes that can have significant repercussions.

HR Compliance: The Unseen Iceberg for Trade Businesses

Many trade businesses unintentionally drift into non-compliance with HR legislation. This often stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of the rules. Owners might think that if they deal with issues only when they arise, they’re saving time. However, this reactive approach can lead to costly mistakes. It’s crucial to have a firm grasp of the Fair Work Act and Modern Awards, as these set the standards for employment in Australia.

The High Cost of Assuming High Pay Overrides Compliance

Paying above-market wages is common in trade industries, but this does not exempt a business from other compliance requirements. Issues like annual leave loading, travel allowances, and penalties can quickly culminate in substantial back-payment claims if not documented correctly.

The Employee vs. Contractor Conundrum

Many trade businesses fall into the trap of misclassifying workers, which can lead to what’s known as ‘sham contracting’. It’s essential to understand the difference between an employee and a contractor to avoid hefty fines and back payments.

Overtime and Hours: Counting the Cost

Understanding and adhering to standard working hours and overtime rules is another area where businesses often slip up. The misconception that a standard workweek extends beyond 38 hours without overtime compensation can open a business up to back-payment claims.

Key Takeaways

  • Comprehending HR Legislation: It’s vital to understand the HR legislation that governs your business.
  • Wage Compliance: High wages don’t negate the need for compliance in other areas.
  • Classification of Workers: Correctly classifying your workers as employees or contractors is critical.
  • Overtime Management: Ensure you manage overtime and hours in line with legal requirements.
  • Solid Documentation: Having strong HR documentation can save your business from numerous risks.


In conclusion, trade businesses must prioritise understanding and adhering to HR compliance to avoid the pitfalls that come with it. From ensuring proper employee classification to managing overtime and maintaining solid documentation, these measures are not just about avoiding penalties but also about fostering a fair and productive work environment. By taking heed of these points, business owners can protect themselves from the risks and set their businesses up for long-term success.

Ready to dive deeper into these topics? Don’t miss out on our full podcast episode with Kristy-Lee Billet. Click the button below to start listening!


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The Site Shed is one of the best online communities and podcasts for tradies out there. The free content provided to members is unbelievable - offering invaluable advice to run a successful business, and the community of tradies is truly awesome. Do yourself a favour and check it out.

Peter Cox Business Man

Great work Matt with all the podcasts and the site shed facebook community group. The amount of information that you can learn for free in this space is unbelieveable. It's great to see like minded contractors and trades trying to improve their businesses and also share ideas and help others. Highly recommend. Thanks!

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I own a construction company,and i love learning how to make my bussiness more competitive,profitable and how to better serve my clients. The site shed is a wonderful place to get invaluable knowledge no matter your trade .

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