Tongala/Kyabram campaign finds 54 per cent of employers non-compliant

13 July 2010

More than half the employers randomly audited in Northern Victoria recently failed to comply with federal workplace laws.

The Fair Work Ombudsman today released its report on a time-and-wages/record keeping campaign conducted over two days earlier this year.

Fair Work Ombudsman Executive-Director Michael Campbell says 54 per cent of employers recorded contraventions - suggesting the need for small, regional employers to seek advice and assistance to improve levels of awareness and compliance.

“We are here to help, both in terms of providing information and practical tools and resources on our website, as well as responding to employers with questions to our Fair Work Infoline,” Mr Campbell said.

Earlier this year, Fair Work inspectors doorknocked business houses in Tongala, Goornong, Echuca, Elmore, Rochester, Coolamon, Kyabram, Rushworth and Tatura to speak with employers and provide educative materials.

They audited 26 businesses, mainly in the retail and hospitality industries.

Mr Campbell says 12, or 46 per cent, were fully compliant with workplace relations laws, while 14, or 54 per cent, recorded contraventions relating to record-keeping and payslips.

“Four employers were also found to have underpaid 22 of their staff a total of $8731,” he said.

A Rushworth business underpaid seven employees $3694, an Echuca business underpaid seven employees $2724, a Rochester business underpaid seven employees $2198 and a Kyabram business underpaid one employee $115.

The underpayments resulted from employers failing to pay minimum hourly rates, overtime and weekend penalty rates, allowances and annual leave entitlements.

Mr Campbell says all employers co-operated with inspectors and voluntarily back-paid the money they owed.

“Inspectors have assisted all businesses to put processes in place to ensure these breaches do not occur again in the future,” he said.

Mr Campbell says the results indicate the importance of the Fair Work Ombudsman conducting localised, targeted campaigns to increase community awareness of workplace rights and obligations.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has a number of tools on its website - www.fwo.gov.au - to assist employees and employers to check minimum rates of pay, including Paycheck and PayrollCheck.

There are also templates for time-and-wages sheets, payslips and other types of employment records.

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.

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.

Media inquiries:

Craig Bildstien, Director, Media & Stakeholder Relations,
0419 818 484
craig.bildstien@fwo.gov.au

Richard Honey, Adviser, Media & Stakeholder Relations,
(03) 9954 2716, 0457 924 146
richard.honey@fwo.gov.au

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