South-West WA workers back-paid $21,000

30 March 2011

Twenty-six workers in Western Australia’s South-West region have been back-paid more than $21,000 after targeted investigations by the Fair Work Ombudsman found they were underpaid.

The biggest underpayment was $11,200 for 12 casual retail employees who were underpaid the minimum hourly rate.

After Fair Work inspectors contacted the employer and explained its obligations, all the workers were back-paid in full.

The Fair Work Ombudsman audited the business as part of a Southern region record keeping campaign which previously recovered more than $67,000 for 120 workers.

Other cases finalised recently include:

  • $9200 for six shop assistants at a retail outlet underpaid penalties and allowances, and
  • $700 for five young casual workers at a fast-food business underpaid the minimum hourly rate.

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

“We acknowledge that accidental breaches of workplace laws do and will occur,” he said.

“Our preference is to work with employers to educate them and help them voluntarily rectify any non-compliance issues.”

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

“However, employers need to regularly review their Award or agreement to ensure they are fully aware of their obligations to their workers,” he said.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has a number of tools and user-friendly resources on its website at 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, horticulture, fast food and hospitality industries.

Employers and employees seeking advice or assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Media inquiries:

Cameron Jackson, Media Adviser, Media and Stakeholder Relations
0457 924 146 
cameron.jackson@fwo.gov.au

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