Media release

7 November 2011

Campaigns put 7000 businesses on notice

Almost 7000 employers were randomly audited last financial year as part of the Fair Work Ombudsman's national and regional campaigns.

Fair Work inspectors scrutinised the employment records of 6779 businesses as part of national, state-wide and regional campaigns.

The campaigns resulted in a total of $4.7 million in underpaid entitlements being recovered for 7613 employees.

Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson says the targeted compliance work aims to ensure workers are protected and receive their full pay.

"Many employers underpay as the result of a lack of information or they make mistakes interpreting the information they have," he said.

"However, some deliberately take the opportunity to keep for themselves what is rightfully owed to their employees, and our proactive work helps improve understanding among employers of their workplace responsibilities."

Campaign audits were up 84 per cent from 3413 in 2009-10 and the money recovered for underpaid employees was up 11 per cent from $4.2 million.

Four national campaigns were conducted last financial year, focussing on the horticulture sector, cleaning services, insulation installers and sham contracting.

At the end of June, $242,451 had been recouped for 621 underpaid cleaners, $227,308 for 585 horticultural employees and $48,000 for 79 insulation installers.

The results of the sham contracting campaign, which targeted employers in the cleaning, contact centre and hair and beauty sectors, have yet to be publicly released.

The Fair Work Ombudsman's compliance activities are both pro-active - working with specific industry sectors to educate and improve the level of compliance - and re-active, responding directly to complaints.

"We aim to improve compliance with workplace laws through an integrated approach that combines positive motivators, such as advice and education, with deterrents such as investigation and litigation activities," Mr Wilson said.

Results of Fair Work Ombudsman campaign activities are posted Online at www.fairwork.gov.au

The Fair Work Infoline - 13 13 94 - is open from 8 am to 6 pm weekdays.

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: 07 Nov 2011