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Building Persistent Compliance with Labour Law: Evidence from a Randomised Controlled Trial

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Partner agencies: 
Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman
Registration date: 
Wednesday, 1 February 2017

All employees working in Australia are entitled to a minimum wage and minimum standards of employment. The underpayment of wages and entitlements is a serious social and economic issue which affects workers, businesses and the community.

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) uses audits to keep businesses on track—and we set out to see if these audits could be even more effective. The result was a win-win for workers, businesses and the community. Employees were $900 better off on average, instances of underpayment were reduced by 24 per cent, and the new audit took only 15 days on average compared with 23 days. Employers also told us it’s more helpful and informative.

Additional trial information

Intervention start and end date: Wednesday, 01 February 2017 to Friday, 30 June 2017

BETA ethics pre-registration number: BETA ETH 2017 - 003, 10 January 2017

Experimental design: 4x2 Randomised Controlled Trial

1600-2000 small businesses randomised to four conditions measured at two time points six months apart.

Intervention(s): Reminders, checklists, planning prompts, social norm information regarding compliance and default  sign-up to an educational tool

Control condition: Treatment as usual

Outcome(s): 

Primary: Compliance with payment of wage entitlements.

Secondary: Efficiency of Audit Process, Client Satisfaction.

Expected sample size: 1600-2000 small businesses

Other: 

Hiscox, Michael. 2017. Building Persistent Compliance with Labour Law: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial. AEA RCT Registry. February 01.