Toowoomba inspectors recover $700,000 for underpaid workers in South-West

27 October 2010

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s Toowoomba regional office recovered more than $700,000 in back-pay for 665 workers last financial year.

The amount forms part of a total of $4.25 million recouped for 3749 underpaid Queensland employees in 2009-10.

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

Recent significant recoveries in the South-West include:

  • $60,000 for four Gatton workers in the waste management industry underpaid the minimum hourly rate and penalty rates
  • $14,400 for a worker in the Toowoomba fitness industry underpaid the minimum hourly rate and termination entitlements
  • $13,100 for a Toowoomba manager underpaid accrued annual leave and long service leave
  • $7300 for a Gatton accountant not paid annual leave or long service leave
  • $5600 for a driver at a Warwick transport company underpaid penalty rates
  • $5100 for a Warwick delivery driver underpaid the minimum hourly rate and not paid for all hours worked
  • $5100 for a Charleville bar attendant underpaid overtime and penalty rates
  • $4900 for a Western Downs baker underpaid annual leave entitlements
  • $2900 for a Toowoomba food and beverage attendant underpaid the minimum hourly rate, and
  • $2700 for Toowoomba a truck driver underpaid the hourly rate, penalty rates and annual leave entitlements.

Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says the recoveries highlight the need for employers to understand their obligations to staff, including applicable wages rates and conditions.

“In most cases, the Fair Work Ombudsman does not prosecute employers for inadvertent breaches of workplace law,” Mr Campbell said.

“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.”

The Fair Work Ombudsman has a number of tools and user-friendly resources on its website - www.fairwork.gov.au - to assist employees and employers to check minimum rates of pay.

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 available online.

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.

A series of Best Practice Guides have also been developed by the Fair Work Ombudsman to assist employers make better use of the provisions of the Fair Work Act and better understand other aspects of workplace laws.

The guides cover work and family, consultation and co-operation, individual flexibility arrangements, employing young workers, gender pay equity, small business, workplace privacy, managing underperformance, effective dispute resolution and improving workplace productivity in bargaining.

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.

The Toowoomba-based inspectors cover a large part of South-West Queensland including the Lockyer Valley, Brisbane Valley, Warwick and Dalby regions as well as all areas from Roma south and west to the NT border.

Note: We are unable to provide additional information on the case 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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