Ipswich security company fined more than $20,000 for underpaying workers

24 February 2011

The operators of a security company at Ipswich in Queensland have been fined a total of more than $20,000 for underpaying 32 employees.

Specialised Security Service Pty Ltd, which is based in the suburb Amberley, has been fined $16,912.50 and company director-manager Peter Conroy has been fined an additional $3382.50.

Federal Magistrate Michael Burnett imposed the fines in the Federal Magistrates Court in Brisbane.

The fines were imposed after Conroy admitted he was involved in Specialised Security Services committing five breaches of workplace laws by underpaying 32 security officers a total of $46,205 between 2006 and 2008.

The employees were paid a flat rate of between $17 and $20 for all hours worked, resulting in underpayment of their casual loadings, shift allowances and penalty rates for weekend, public holiday and overtime work.

The biggest underpayment of an individual worker was $7530.

Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says inspectors audited Specialised Security Service in 2008 as part of a campaign targeting the security industry in Queensland.

The company rectified the underpayments of its employees in 2009.

However, Mr Campbell says the Fair Work Ombudsman decided to prosecute because of the significant amount involved for low-paid workers.

“This case serves as a reminder that it is the responsibility of employers to determine which Award and classifications apply to their employees and to ensure they pay employees their full entitlements,” he said.

“It is unlawful for employers to ignore the applicable Award and instead pay employees flat rates of pay. Such conduct will not be tolerated.

“Successful prosecutions such as this also benefit employers who are complying with workplace laws because it helps them to compete on a level playing field,” he says.

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

Employers or employees seeking assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit the website. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Media inquiries:

Ryan Pedler, Senior Adviser, Media & Stakeholder Relations
(03) 9954 2561, 0411 430 902

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