Media release

7 November 2011

Campaigns recover $2.3m for underpaid Victorian workers

A total of $2.3 million was recouped for underpaid workers in Victoria last financial year as a result of the Fair Work Ombudsman's targeted campaign activity.

Fair Work inspectors scrutinised the employment records of 906 Victorian businesses as part of their pro-active compliance work.

Four national campaigns focused on horticulture, cleaning services, insulation installers and sham contracting and three regional campaigns were mounted in Victoria.

These were based around record-keeping, regional transport and employer education in Wangaratta and Corryong.

A total of 28 regional campaigns in Victoria, Tasmania, SA, Queensland, NT, NSW/ACT, and Western Australia recovered $585,843 for 1316 underpaid workers.

Nationally, the Fair Work Ombudsman randomly audited 6779 businesses and recovered a total of $4.7 million for 7613 employees.

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.

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."

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