PwC readies tool to disrupt workplace negotiations and industrial relations

PwC readies tool to disrupt workplace negotiations and industrial relations

Paid Right applies analytics to modern awards and enterprise bargaining agreements to ensure workers paid fairly

PwC Australia is soon to launch a tool which applies data analytics to complex awards and enterprise agreements to ensure a company’s employees are being paid correctly.

Paid Right is the result of a partnership between the consultancy giant and CSIRO’s Data61, and is expected to be available to clients this year.

The tool extracts data from award and enterprise bargaining agreement texts, as well as timesheets, employee master data, rosters and payslips, and runs data and rules modelling to calculate what employees should be getting paid. It then compares the results with what has been paid and identifies any discrepancies.

“It's like having Australia’s leading workplace lawyers and accountants reviewing your payroll system,” a tagline for the tool reads. 

The new tool was revealed yesterday by PwC’s national managing partner of assurance practice, Matt Graham.

“[It is] effectively a piece of work we’re doing together to disrupt what has been a 50 or 60 year process of negotiation, of enterprise bargaining arrangements between employers and big groups of employees and unions,” Graham told an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce event in Sydney.

It is understood a number of companies have already run trials of the tool, to help refine its capability.

“We used the data science capability from Data61 and PwC’s trusted brand to come together and give both sides of that discussion some confidence about what actually has been paid, what laws have been complied with and really what is up for negotiation in a specific discussion. And that’s resulted for some of those companies in a much more efficient process, which has been fantastic,” Graham added.

The tool will also help employers meet National Employment Standards, remain Better Off Overall Test (BOOT) compliant and identify if franchisees and sub-contractors are paying their employees correctly.

Paid Right will also allow companies to better analyse the impacts of roster changes, and assess the cost and consequences of future enterprise agreement negotiations, a document on the product noted.

Compliance with complex awards and agreements continues to prove a tricky and costly task for Australian businesses.

Last month, the Fair Work Commission heard that supermarket chain Coles failed to conduct any modelling on a 2014 employment deal with unions affecting 76,000 employees which failed to pass the Better Off Overall Test.

A Coles worker is currently challenging the company's 2011 enterprise bargaining agreement with her union, the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, in a case pundits told the ABC could result in the collapse of agreements covering hundreds of thousands of workers.

The mining industry is pushing for reforms to the industrial relations process to allow workers to opt out of union-bargained agreements and instead negotiate individual contracts. 

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Tags CSIROPricewaterhouseCoopersPwCcolesPwC AustraliaData61workplace negotiationsindustrial relationsModern AwardEnterprise Bargaining Agreement

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