Media release

19 November 2010

Hunter labour hire company back-pays workers $14,100 after regulator intervenes

The Fair Work Ombudsman has recovered $14,100 for three Hunter construction workers after an investigation found they were underpaid by a labour hire company.

The workers lodged a complaint with the Fair Work Ombudsman after they were paid a flat rate for all hours worked and not paid their appropriate penalty rates and allowances.

The largest individual underpayment was $6700.

After Fair Work inspectors contacted the company and explained its obligations, the workers were back-paid in full.

This recovery is one of a number finalised recently in the Hunter region.

Others include:

  • $6300 for a technical manager in The Junction underpaid annual leave entitlements on termination, and
  • $3200 for a Newcastle apprentice hairdresser underpaid the minimum hourly rate and penalty rates.

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

“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.

Mr Campbell says the cases highlight the importance of employers and employees alike understanding their workplace rights and obligations.

“Employers need to regularly review their Award or agreement to ensure they are fully aware of their obligations to their workers,” 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, including Paycheck, Payroll Check and a Pay Rate Calculator.

An ‘Industries’ section on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website provides information specifically tailored for employers and workers in the retail, cleaning, clerical, hair and beauty, security and horticulture industries.

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. 

Note: we are unable to provide additional information about the cases listed above.

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: 18 Nov 2010