Media release

3 November 2010

$12,600 recovered for WA Wheatbelt workers

Two workers in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt have been reimbursed $12,600 after recent investigations by the Fair Work Ombudsman found they were underpaid.

The biggest underpayment was $7000 for a senior farm hand near Southern Cross.

The worker lodged a complaint with the Fair Work Ombudsman after he was not paid for all hours worked, annual leave entitlements or allowances on termination.

After Fair Work inspectors contacted the property owner and explained the employer’s obligations, the worker was fully reimbursed.

In a separate case, an apprentice at Merredin has been back-paid $5600 after he was underpaid the minimum hourly rate, overtime allowances and annual leave entitlements. Similarly, after inspectors contacted the employer, the apprentice was back-paid in full.

Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says that given the employers co-operated and voluntarily rectified their respective contraventions, there will be no further action against the companies.

Last financial year the Fair Work Ombudsman recouped a total of $2.65 million for 1634 Western Australians underpaid at work.
 
Mr Campbell says that in most cases, the Fair Work Ombudsman does not prosecute employers for inadvertent breaches of workplace laws.

“We have a flexible, fair approach and our preference is always to work with employers to educate them and help them voluntarily rectify any non-compliance issues we identify,” he said.

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 better equipped when hiring, managing and dismissing employees by using free template employment documentation available online.

Online resources also include industry-specific web pages, payslip and record-keeping templates, a self-audit checklist and fact sheets.

Employers and employees seeking advice or assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. Translations are available by calling 13 14 50.

Media inquiries:

Ryan Pedler, Senior Adviser, Media & Stakeholder Relations
(03) 9954 2561, 0411 430 902
ryan.pedler@fwo.gov.au

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Page last updated: 03 Nov 2010