24 Nov 2011
Queensland real estate campaign results
A number of Queensland real estate agents are failing to lodge staff pay agreements, a Fair Work Ombudsman targeted compliance campaign has revealed.
The Fair Work Ombudsman checked the books of 156 employers earlier this year to ensure they were meeting their obligation to lodge written pay agreements for their staff with the Queensland Property Industry Registry (QPIR).
Fair Work inspectors found that 75 employers (48 per cent) had lodged their agreements, but 81 employers (52 per cent) had failed to.
It is a requirement under the Real Estate Industry Award 2010 for employers to lodge a written agreement with the QPIR for all staff classified as property/strata management or property sales employees.
The agreement must state how the employee will be paid - commission-only, part-commission or as per the rates listed in the Modern Award - and detail steps that will be taken to ensure Award entitlements are not undercut.
Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson says employers who fail to lodge agreements are at greater risk of underpaying their employees.
“We conducted this campaign because we identified that many of the underpayment complaints we receive from real estate industry workers in Queensland were against employers who had not lodged pay agreements with the QPIR,” Mr Wilson said.
The highest rate of non-compliance was on the Gold Coast, where 20 of the 31 employers audited (65 per cent) had failed to lodge agreements.
Thirty-six (55 per cent) of the 65 Brisbane employers audited were non-compliant, while six (29 per cent) of the 21 Sunshine Coast employers audited were non-compliant.
Other areas with at least one non-compliant employer included Loganholme, Townsville, Cairns, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Mackay, Gatton, Gympie and Stanthorpe.
In all cases, employers agreed to promptly lodge agreements after Fair Work inspectors educated the businesses about their obligations.
Mr Wilson says the process of employers negotiating and lodging written pay agreements focuses employers’ minds on the applicable minimum pay rates and ensures employees have clarity about their pay structure.
“By ensuring employers are complying with the requirement to lodge agreements, we aim to prevent underpayments and pay disputes before they occur,” he said.
Employers were selected at random and inspectors were sensitive to the special needs of businesses suffering as a result of recent extreme weather events in Queensland.
Employers or employees seeking assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit www.fairwork.gov.au A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.
Follow the Fair Work Ombudsman on Twitter @fairwork_gov_au .
Ryan Pedler, Senior Adviser, Media & Stakeholder Relations
(03) 9954 2561, 0411 430 902