16 November 2010
Limestone Coast campaign results released
Almost 150 workers in South Australia’s Limestone Coast region have been reimbursed a total of $55,000 after a targeted campaign by the Fair Work Ombudsman found they had been underpaid.
Fair Work inspectors audited employers in Mount Gambier, Coonawarra, Naracoorte, Robe, Penola, Coonalpyn and Eight Mile Creek as part of the education and compliance campaign.
Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says that of the 71 businesses investigated, 46 were found to be compliant with workplace laws.
Of the 25 with contraventions, 19 employers had record-keeping and/or payslip breaches, while six had underpaid 144 of their staff a total of $55,377.
The employees were underpaid their minimum hourly rate and penalty rates.
Some employers audited during the campaign were selected at random, while others were included because they had previously been the subject of complaints.
A Mount Gambier retailer was issued with a $550 penalty because it had already been warned about record keeping and payslip breaches.
“We hope that the penalty sends a message that repeated contraventions will not be tolerated,” Mr Campbell said.
“We treat record-keeping matters very seriously because they can hamper the ability of inspectors to determine whether workers have been underpaid.”
Mr Campbell says it is pleasing that all employers co-operated with inspectors and voluntarily reimbursed their staff who had been underpaid. “Inspectors assisted employers to put processes in place to ensure breaches are not repeated,” he said.
The Fair Work Ombudsman would conduct further education and auditing activity on the Limestone Coast in an attempt to improve compliance with workplace laws. Mr Campbell says the most recent audits have helped raise awareness among both employers and employees of the role of the Fair Work Ombudsman.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has a range of user-friendly resources on its website at www.fairwork.gov.au to assist employers comply with workplace laws, including Modern Awards and minimum National Employment Standards.
Resources for small business include a number of industry specific web pages, payslip and record-keeping templates, a self-audit checklist, template letters and fact sheets on dozens of topics including leave, industrial action, public holidays, enterprise bargaining, gender pay equality and family-friendly workplaces.
As well as Online resources, the Fair Work Ombudsman has advisers available to speak with employers and workers with questions on its Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 from 8am-6pm weekdays.
Ryan Pedler, Senior Adviser, Media & Stakeholder Relations
(03) 9954 2561, 0411 430 902