Media release

20 September 2010

Regulator secures $28,000 back-pay for two Sunshine Coast workers

An investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman has recovered $28,000 for two real estate workers on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

The part-time workers – employed for seven months and 10 months – were not paid any wages or annual leave entitlements during their employment.
 
The two employees were only paid commissions on property sales.

After Fair Work inspectors contacted the employer and explained its obligations, the real estate company immediately back-paid the workers amounts totalling $16,900 and $11,700.
 
In a separate case, a Maroochydore sales consultant has also been reimbursed more than $7300 after filing a complaint that he did not receive commissions in line with the company’s collective agreement.

Likewise, after being contacted by Fair Work inspectors the employer voluntarily back-paid the worker.
 
The recoveries are among a number of cases finalised recently on behalf of workers in the greater Sunshine Coast region.

Inspectors discovered the underpayments through a combination of routine audits and investigations into complaints from workers.

Other recoveries include:

  • $6600 for a Maroochydore electrician underpaid long service leave entitlements,
  • $6500 for a Forest Glen tradesman underpaid redundancy entitlements, and
  • $1700 for a young Tin Can Bay kitchen hand underpaid the minimum hourly rate and penalty rates.

Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says that because the employers have fully co-operated and voluntarily back-paid the workers, no further action will be taken.
    
Mr Campbell says that most of the underpayments were the result of a lack of understanding by employers of their legal obligations, including wages and conditions.

“The Agency places a strong focus on educating and assisting employers to understand and comply with workplace laws,” he said.

“However, employers need to be aware that it’s their responsibility to pay workers correctly.”

The Fair Work Ombudsman has a number of tools on its website - www.fairwork.gov.au - to assist employees and employers to check minimum rates of pay.

Small to medium-sized businesses without human resources staff can also ensure they are following best practice when hiring, managing and dismissing employees by using free template employment documentation with step-by-step instructions or accessing a series of Best Practice Guides.

Employers or employees seeking assistance or further information can also contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 from 8am-6pm weekdays. For translations, call 13 14 50.

Media inquiries:

Richard Honey, Adviser, Media & Stakeholder Relations,
(03) 9954 2716, 0457 924 146
richard.honey@fwo.gov.au

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Page last updated: 20 Sep 2010