11 February 2009
Random audits in Albury-Wodonga reveal high level of compliance with workplace laws
Almost 80 per cent of employers in Albury-Wodonga are complying with national workplace laws, random audits by the Fair Work Ombudsman have revealed.
A team of 20 Fair Work inspectors made cold call visits to 191 local employers over two days last September to ensure staff were being paid correctly.
Releasing the results of the campaign today, Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says 79 per cent – or 151 businesses – have been given the thumbs up.
“This is a pleasing outcome,” Mr Campbell said, noting that the compliance rate eclipsed the 70 per cent figure recorded in previous Victorian record-keeping campaigns.
Fair Work inspectors from Wagga, Bendigo and Melbourne checked the books of local retail and light industry businesses on September 16 and 17 last year.
Of the 40 businesses found to be in breach of workplace laws, 36 were of a minor technical nature, mainly associated with information on workers’ payslips and time-and-wages records and these were easily rectified with the help from inspectors.
Mr Campbell said the campaign identified only eight employees who had been underpaid, and the $6488 they were collectively owed was promptly and voluntarily reimbursed by the employers involved.
The underpayments resulted from employers incorrectly calculating casual pay rates and the non-payment of overtime.
“After the employers were made aware of their obligations they swiftly back-paid the workers and updated their record keeping practices,” Mr Campbell said.
“We have a flexible and fair approach and our preference is always to work with employers to educate them and help them voluntarily rectify any non-compliance issues,” he said.
The Albury-Wodonga campaign included an information and education session for business people attended by 40 employers.
Mr Campbell says the face-to-face visits by Fair Work Inspectors were received positively by employers, who were informed of the campaign in advance via local media.
“A lack of accurate records remains an obstacle when we undertake audits and investigate complaints, so it is important employers understand their obligations with respect to keeping up-to-date records,” he said.
“Good records help us resolve any potential disputes swiftly and efficiently,” he said.
Employers or employees seeking assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit www.fairwork.gov.au where payslip and record-keeping templates and other resources are available. For translations call 13 14 50.
Craig Bildstien, Director Media & Stakeholder Relations,
0419 818 484
Ryan Pedler, Media & Stakeholder Relations Senior Adviser
(03) 9954 2561, 0434 365 924