$20,000 back pay for Meander Valley worker

25 February 2011

A sales assistant in the Meander Valley in northern Tasmania has been reimbursed $20,000 after a recent investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman found she was underpaid.

The worker lodged a complaint with the Fair Work Ombudsman after she was underpaid the minimum hourly rate for the past five years.

After Fair Work inspectors contacted the company and explained its obligations, the worker was back-paid in full.

Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says that given the employer co-operated with inspectors and voluntarily rectified the underpayment, there will be no further action against the company.

“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 says.

Mr Campbell says that in most cases, the Fair Work Ombudsman does not prosecute employers for inadvertent breaches of workplace laws.

“The best advice I can give to business operators is to get the basics right and everything else should start to fall into place.

“By the basics, I mean knowing what Award applies to your employees, the correct classifications and pay rates,” he says.

The Fair Work Ombudsman recouped a total of $870,000 for 420 underpaid Tasmanian workers last financial year.

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.

Employers and employees seeking advice or assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. Translations are available by calling 13 14 50.

Media inquiries:

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

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