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Employment Award Interpretation in complex workforce environments

18 Sep, 2019

Many industries rely on a multitude of complex MECAs (Multi Employer Collective Agreements) to operate, particularly in sectors that require 24/7/365 workforces to function.

For example, the Health Sector in New Zealand has multiple separate MECAs for different professions within the sector, including Psychologists, Resident Medical Officers, Nurses and Midwives, Senior Medical and Dental Officers, Service and Food Workers, and so forth and so on.

Each MECA provides a multitude of different awards for work conditions that power a 24/7/365 industry, adding massive complexity to workforce management.

The AMS Timesheet Award Interpreter is a proven, versatile and user configurable business rules engine that delivers 100% automated award interpretation. The engine is specifically designed to interpret the most complex of Employment Agreements (EAs) and Awards and apply the rules to employee worked hours.

In large or complex environments automated Award Interpretation is too often the missing link in payroll processes, especially within a Roster to Pay (R2P) environment. The use of a tool that ensures the consistent, rapid and accurate delivery of pays delivers significant benefits for enterprises and shared service environments.

The AMS Smart Software solution has a truly innovative design that supports intelligent, flexible Artificial Intelligence to support 100% interpretation of EA’s and awards. Using start and finish times rather than the more rigid concept of a shift, there is no complex data entry and the solution is able to provide correct interpretation every time.

A manual environment exposes the interpretation to inconsistency and error; especially across large volumes of employees. Conversely, the advantage of an automated solution is the guarantee of consistency; the same interpretation of an award is applied every time; ensuring consistency for every employee every pay and giving confidence to employees and their managers.

With the delivery of automation and consistency, comes the comfort of well managed financial risk management. A full audit trail provides all the necessary traceability expected of an enterprise solution; it protects both users and the organisation and enables a high level of financial assurance.

Intelligent Award Interpreter delivers 100% timesheet interpretation 

The intelligent Enterprise Agreement and Award Interpreter is a business rules engine that can apply thousands of contract interpretations to the rostering and time recording process. Complex award rules are taken into consideration when building rosters, and data fed to your payroll system is based on the relevant award rules for each employee. To achieve fully automated roster to pay, our intelligent interpreter interprets 100% of the relevant conditions.

Our Award Interpreter automates 100% of your interpretations to give the pay system the information it needs to accurately calculate pays.

Specific Award Interpretation challenges often include:

Pay Adjustments

With Award Interpreter, when an adjustment is required there is no manual re-interpretation and the date-effective solution enables a much fuller interpretation. For example; in addition to correcting the actual shift impacted by a change, the solution will also manage the domino effect of other changes within the period, such as where overtime becomes applicable. This is rarely attempted in manual environments as it requires time consuming analysis and recalculations.

EA and Award Changes

EAs and awards change periodically, and with its configurable user interface, users are able to easily make the necessary changes. These are often historical changes, and the powerful date effective design means a change is made once within the solution and it will automatically create any necessary pay adjustments for the employees impacted by that change.

Multi-job employees

The management of employees who have more than one role within an organisation often pose a challenge to payroll, especially when they may involve shiftwork and/or each role may be impacted by different awards. Accurate interpretation of both or multiple roles through an automated environment reduces payroll workload but also creates confidence for the multi-job employees and removes frustrating, time consuming queries.

Data modelling 

The Award Interpreter tool allows HR teams to model different scenarios, for example during MECA negotiations, to understand and model the actual cost impact of different options for paying awards.

Easy to use interface

Changes are made through a user-friendly view which is designed to make sense to payroll staff and people within the business; rather than requiring programmatic or complex algorithmic changes, which require technical expertise. A beneficial result of this is the ease of changes, when changes occur they can be implemented straight away.

This ease of use does not come at the cost of loss of support for complexity. The AMS solution provides support for all the awards that have currently been identified and proposed for use through the solution; including 100% of the complex awards within the NZ health sector. The flexible configuration options also enable automated support for all the grandfathered clauses that apply to individuals or small groups. This removes the requirement of the payroll department to have non-standard processes for specific individual employees.

Payroll time is saved through:

  • 100% automated interpretation
  • Eliminates timesheet processing
  • Easy management of changes
  • Remove rework and double entry

Pay accuracy is improved by:

  • Consistent interpretation
  • Automated adjustments
  • Auditable processing
  • Date-effective changes

AMS Award Interpreter ensures:

  • Greater employee satisfaction
  • Minimised financial risk
  • Confidence and control