Half of Barossa businesses breaching workplace laws, campaign finds

22 March 2018

Half of Barossa businesses are committing at least one breach of workplace laws, according to a report released by the Fair Work Ombudsman today.

As part of a proactive campaign, Fair Work Ombudsman Inspectors assessed the time-and-wages records of 70 businesses in the Barossa and Two Wells/Gawler regions, focusing on towns including Nuriootpa, Williamstown, Angaston and Lyndoch.

Inspectors found that 50 per cent of the businesses were not complying with all of their obligations under Australia’s workplace laws.

The campaign found that 30 per cent of businesses were not paying their employees correctly, while 31 per cent were not meeting pay slip and record-keeping requirements.

In response to the breaches, the Fair Work Ombudsman issued seven infringement notices (on-the-spot fines) and three formal cautions.

A total of $11,438 was recovered for 12 employees.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said it was just not good enough for half of the businesses across the regions to be breaching their obligations.

“I urge all employers to make use of the wealth of information and resources we have available at www.fairwork.gov.au to help them understand workplace requirements.

"We are here to help any business who needs assistance to ensure they are complying with the law.”

In one matter, a small retail establishment in Angaston was issued with a formal caution after inspectors found it was paying a casual employee a flat hourly rate of $20, which was an underpayment of $3.74 per hour.

When inspectors asked for records, the employer said that while they kept time-and-wage books, they did not provide pay slips.

The employer was educated about pay slips and minimum wage requirements and cooperated with the Fair Work Ombudsman to back-pay the workers in full.

Ms James says it is imperative for employers to make sure they are fully aware of their workplace obligations.

“Ignorance is no excuse when it comes to employers making sure they are doing the right thing by their workers,” Ms James said.

“Failing to meet workplace obligations can lead to fines, hefty back-payment bills and, in the most serious cases, litigation in court.

“With a full range of free resources and advice available on our website, businesses have no excuses for non-compliance.

“I encourage employers to visit our website to register for a free ‘My Account’ to receive tailored information on workplace laws, and to contact us if they require assistance.”

Ms James says non-compliant businesses in the region are now on notice that future breaches will not be tolerated.

“My agency will be checking in on non-compliant businesses to ensure they have rectified any issues and have processes in place to ensure compliance in the future,” she said.

Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Small businesses can opt for priority service by following the prompts.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched an online training course aimed at ensuring employers understand their record-keeping obligations. It and a number of other courses are available via the agency’s award winning Online Learning Centre at www.fairwork.gov.au/learning

Follow Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James on Twitter @NatJamesFWO external-icon.png, the Fair Work Ombudsman @fairwork_gov_au External link icon or find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/fairwork.gov.au External link icon.

Sign up to receive the Fair Work Ombudsman’s media releases direct to your email inbox at www.fairwork.gov.au/mediareleases

Read the SA Barossa, Two Wells and Gawler Regional Campaign Report  (PDF 1.1MB)

Media inquiries:

Mira Millane, Media Adviser
Mobile: 0439 835 855
mira.millane@fwo.gov.au

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