Western Sydney workers back-paid $170,000

9 June 2010

A number of workers in Sydney’s western suburbs have been reimbursed more than $170,000 after recent investigations by the Fair Work Ombudsman found they were underpaid.

The largest recovery was $25,000 for a Leppington storeman who was underpaid his minimum hourly rate, pay in lieu of notice and annual leave entitlements.

After Fair Work inspectors contacted the man’s employer, he was promptly back-paid all money owed without the need for further action against the company.

In a separate case, a Blacktown tradesman has been reimbursed $17,000 after he was underpaid his minimum hourly rate, penalty rates for overtime and tool and travel allowances.

Similarly, after inspectors contacted the employer and explained its obligations, the worker was back-paid in full.

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.

Additional recoveries include:

  • $16,400 for a Breakfast Point shop assistant underpaid severance entitlements,
  • $16,200 for a Granville storeman underpaid the minimum hourly rate, pay in lieu of notice, unused annual leave and long service leave after being made redundant,
  • $13,400 for a manager in Bella Vista underpaid redundancy entitlements, $12,900 for a Guildford tradesman underpaid termination pay, annual leave and unused rostered days off,
  • $10,000 for 10 Harris Park hospitality workers underpaid their minimum hourly rate and not paid penalty rates,
  • $10,000 for a Westmead draftsman underpaid redundancy entitlements and pay in lieu of notice,
  • $8700 for an Enfield salesperson underpaid wages,
  • $8100 for three casual shop assistants in Rouse Hill underpaid weekend and overtime penalty rates,
  • $8000 for a Parramatta manager underpaid wages on termination,
  • $7400 for two Blacktown workers underpaid redundancy entitlements, annual leave and rostered days off,
  • $7000 for a Engadine cleaner who was not paid for all hours worked,
  • $6300 for a St Marys retail assistant underpaid annual leave entitlements, and
  • $4000 for an Oakhurst factory worker underpaid accrued annual leave, payment in lieu of notice and severance pay.

Fair Work Ombudsman NSW Director Mark Davidson says in most cases, the Fair Work Ombudsman does not prosecute employers for inadvertent breaches of workplace laws.

“We have a flexible, fair approach and our preference is always to work with employers to educate them and help them voluntarily rectify any non-compliance issues we identify,” he said.

This year, the Fair Work Ombudsman will make more than 10,000 educational visits to businesses in NSW entering the national workplace system for the first time.

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.

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.

NB – We are unable to provide additional information on cases listed above.

Media inquiries:

Craig Bildstien, Director, Media & Stakeholder Relations,
0419 818 484

Richard Honey, Media & Stakeholder Relations Adviser
0457 924 146

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