Workers in Melbourne’s CBD and inner suburbs back-paid almost $260,000

20 December 2010

The Fair Work Ombudsman has recently recovered $254,000 in back-pay for a number of workers in Melbourne’s CBD and inner suburbs.

The biggest recovery was $36,000 for a manager in South Melbourne who was not paid personal leave or long service leave.

After Fair Work inspectors contacted the company and explained its obligations, the worker was back-paid all the money owed.

In a separate case, 27 call centre workers in the City have been reimbursed a total of $35,000 after being underpaid the minimum hourly rate.

And in Carlton 21 retail workers have been back-paid a total of $21,200 after they were also underpaid the minimum hourly rate.

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, workers not paid for all hours worked and failure to pay full entitlements to workers upon termination of their employment.

Other recent recoveries include:

  • $18,800 for a Collingwood retail worker not paid the minimum hourly rate,
  • $15,500 for a City cleaner not paid the minimum hourly rate, penalty rates, allowances, annual leave or leave loading,
  • $15,300 for a Southbank apprentice not paid penalty rates,
  • $11,800 for a South Melbourne telecommunications worker not paid wages or annual leave on termination,
  • $10,700 for a City sales person underpaid the minimum hourly rate, penalty rates, annual leave and wages in lieu of notice,
  • $9700 for a City shop assistant underpaid the minimum hourly rate and not paid annual leave,
  • $9100 for a South Melbourne health service worker not paid for all hours worked or meal break entitlements,
  • $8800 for an Abbottsford administration manager underpaid annual leave entitlements on termination,
  • $8800 for a City administration worker underpaid the minimum hourly rate and annual leave entitlements,
  • $8800 for a City supervisor in the cleaning industry underpaid redundancy entitlements,
  • $8000 for a City retail manger underpaid the minimum hourly rate, penalty rates and meal breaks,
  • $7800 for a Collingwood sales manager underpayment of wages and annual leave entitlements,
  • $6800 for a worker at a City law firm not paid wages and annual leave entitlements,
  • $6500 for a City retail worker underpaid the minimum hourly rate and not paid annual leave or penalty rates,
  • $5500 for an office manager in the City not paid for all hours worked and not paid annual leave entitlements,
  • $5400 for a Richmond barman underpaid the minimum hourly rate and penalty rates over a two year period, and
  • $5000 for a Carlton labourer not paid for roster days off or annual leave loading.

Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says that given all the employers co-operated and voluntarily rectified the matters, there will be no further action against the companies involved.

Mr Campbell says that in most cases, the Fair Work Ombudsman does not prosecute employers for inadvertent breaches of workplace laws.

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

"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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