$190,000 recovered for underpaid workers in Melbourne’s south and south-eastern suburbs

2 December 2010

Workers in Melbourne’s south and south-eastern suburbs have been back-paid more than $190,000 as a result of recent intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman. 

The biggest recovery was $27,900 for a retail worker in Bentleigh who was underpaid termination entitlements including annual leave, long service leave and superannuation.

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

In a separate case, a Langwarrin construction worker was reimbursed $24,000 after being underpaid the minimum hourly rate, penalty rates, wages in lieu of notice and annual leave.

And in Frankston, a health professional has received $21,900 back-pay after she was not paid wages in lieu of notice, sick leave, annual leave or long service leave.

Fair Work inspectors discovered the underpayments through a combination of routine audits and investigations into complaints from workers.

Common non-compliance issues encountered by inspectors include underpayment of workers’ minimum hourly rates, penalty rates and failure to pay full entitlements to workers on termination of their employment.

Other recent recoveries include:

  • $14,400 for a Hallam office manager not paid annual leave and long service leave,
  • $12,000 for a Caulfield South printing industry worker underpaid the minimum hourly rate,
  • $11,100 for two Moorabbin store hands underpaid the minimum hourly rate and annual leave entitlements on termination,
  • $9600 for a Moorabbin tradesman underpaid the minimum hourly rate and penalty rates,
  • $9200 for a Hallam manager not paid annual leave entitlements on termination,
  • $8600 for a Clayton childcare worker not paid redundancy entitlements,
  • $7900 for a Springvale education worker not paid for all hours worked or annual leave on termination,
  • $7200 for a Cheltenham storeman underpaid the minimum hourly rate and penalty rates,
  • $7000 for a Brighton East sales worker underpaid the minimum hourly rate, overtime and allowances,
  • $6400 for a Fountain Gate sales assistant underpaid the minimum hourly rate and annual leave entitlements,
  • $6400 for a Hastings truck driver underpaid the minimum hourly rate and penalty rates,
  • $5600 for a Rowville gardener underpaid the minimum hourly rate and who was not paid for all hours worked,
  • $5600 for a Narre Warren South real estate agent underpaid the minimum hourly rate, and
  • $5400 for a workshop manager in Clayton underpaid wages in lieu of notice and annual leave.

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

“Our preference is always to work with employers to educate them and help them voluntary rectify any non-compliance issues,” he said.

"However, employers need to regularly review their Award or agreement to ensure they are fully aware of their obligations to their workers."

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, PayrollCheck and a Pay Rate Calculator.

Small to medium-sized businesses without human resources staff can also ensure they are better equipped when hiring, managing and dismissing employees by using free template employment documentation with step-by-step instructions or accessing a series of Best Practice Guides.

Online resources also include payslip and record-keeping templates, a self-audit checklist and fact sheets.

The ‘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 on 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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