Fair Work inspectors to visit employers in regional SA

5 October 2010

The Fair Work Ombudsman today announced plans to step up scrutiny of employers in regional South Australia.

The workplace regulator has put businesses in Mount Gambier, Port Lincoln, Whyalla and Port Pirie on notice they will be subject to random audits.

A team of Fair Work inspectors will this week begin doorknocking up to 80 businesses in the major shopping strips to ensure they are paying staff correctly.

As well as checking staff pay rates, inspectors will monitor employer record-keeping and pay-slip practices to ensure they are compliant.

Inspectors will also provide advice to employers about the free tools and resources available to them at www.fairwork.gov.au and explain the benefits of calling the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.

Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says the face-to-face contacts are part of the Agency’s ongoing education and awareness activity.

“We are very serious about our job of ensuring the regional South Australian community understands its rights and obligations in the workplace,” he said.

In cases where inspectors find employment records are not up to scratch or indicate workers are being underpaid, they may launch a wider investigation.

“Where we do identify issues, our first step is to assist employers to comply and seek their co-operation to voluntarily rectify any problems,” Mr Campbell said.

“If they do not, or if we suspect deliberate underpayments or other serious contraventions, we may launch a full audit, which could lead to court proceedings.”

Mr Campbell says the campaign also aims to ensure more country employers understand the role of the Fair Work Ombudsman and how it can assist them.

“Also, sometimes we find workers in regional areas are reluctant to complain about their terms and conditions of employment for fear they may put their job at risk,” he said.

“Similarly, they worry that if they make a complaint, it could impact on their personal life, particularly in small communities.

“It is important regional workers along with their city counterparts understand there is an Agency they can turn to if they have workplace concerns. Complaints can be made confidentially.”

Media inquiries:

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

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