The word ‘audit’ tends to incite fear and dread for many people; with images of endless paperwork and never-ending phone calls flashing before their eyes.
But believe it or not, a WorkCover Queensland audit can offer positive benefits for employers by cutting red tape and making it easier to get their workers’ compensation forecasts accurate.
WorkCover Education and Compliance Manager, Erin Leftwich says a WorkCover audit or wage review is designed to educate employers and give them peace of mind that they are paying the correct workers’ compensation cover.
“During an audit, WorkCover’s compliance and education team work with employers to check they have declared their wages accurately and are aware of what to include as wages as well as what not to include,” Erin said.
“Employers benefit from this process as it gives them a better understanding of what they need to declare and it could actually deliver financial savings,” she said.
Over the past six months, more than 80 employers have received refunds totalling over $250,000 as a result of WorkCover audits.
Gladstone-based marine services company, MIPEC recently received a refund of $33,000 as a result of an over declaration of wages identified during a WorkCover audit.
MIPEC Chief Financial Officer, Ken Brundell was happy with the audit process and the support provided by WorkCover staff.
“We found the auditing process to be helpful rather than an inquisition,” Ken said.
“The technical assistance with defining what is and isn’t to be included helped with the recalculation of premium and has established clearer guidelines for our future declarations.”
The 150,000 businesses who are part of WorkCover Queensland’s scheme benefit from the lowest average premium rate in Australia ($1.20) and one of the nation’s fastest return work rates with over 90 per cent of injured workers returning to work within 12 months.
“Protecting the integrity and sustainability of the WorkCover scheme benefits all participating Queensland employers. These audits also support WorkCover’s intention to continue delivering Australia’s lowest average premium rate in future years,” Erin said.
When calculating premium, WorkCover requires details of the actual wages paid during the last financial year and the estimated wages employers expect to pay in the next financial year.
“Business conditions can change unexpectedly during the course of a year, so it is important to make sure that WorkCover has the right information to properly calculate your annual premium,” Erin said.
The main reasons for over declaring wages include:
- declaring payments made in relation to Directors of a company, Trustees of the Trust and partners of the Partnerships,
- including non-assessable allowances such as travelling, meal, tool and clothing allowances,
- Including termination lump sum payments, and
- any claims excess paid.
WorkCover provides a range of online tools and information to assist employers to declare their wages correctly.