Qld real estate industry faces further scrutiny

15 May 2012

The Fair Work Ombudsman is re-visiting Queensland’s real estate industry after last year finding that many employers were failing to lodge staff pay agreements.

Fair Work inspectors will audit 125 businesses over the next three months to check that they have lodged written agreements for their staff with the Queensland Property Industry Registry (QPIR).

Last year, the Fair Work Ombudsman audited 156 real estate agents throughout Queensland and found that 81 (52 per cent) had failed to lodge agreements.

In a follow-up campaign, inspectors will now revisit those employers who had failed to lodge agreements and will randomly select additional businesses for scrutiny.

The Fair Work Ombudsman will also work with key industry stakeholders to contact more than 2000 real estate industry employers throughout Queensland to make them aware of their obligations under workplace laws.

The follow-up campaign will focus on real estate agents, business and hotel brokers, strata and community title management businesses, stock and station agents, buyers' agencies and real estate valuation agents.

Fair Work inspectors will audit employers throughout Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast and in regional areas including Ipswich, Loganholme, Cairns, Mount Isa, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Hervey Bay, Gladstone, Gympie, Toowoomba, Gatton, Stanthorpe, Charters Towers, Kilcoy, Maryborough, Roma and Longreach.

It is a requirement under the Real Estate Industry Award 2010 for employers to lodge a written agreement with the QPIR for all staff classified as property / strata management or property sales employees.

The agreements must state how the employees will be paid - commission-only, part-commission or as per the rates listed in the Modern Award.

Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson says employers who fail to lodge agreements are at greater risk of underpaying their employees.

"We are conducting this follow-up campaign because we have identified that many of the underpayment complaints we receive from real estate industry workers in Queensland are against employers who have not lodged pay agreements with the QPIR," Mr Wilson said.

"By ensuring employers are complying with the requirement to lodge agreements, we aim to prevent underpayments and pay disputes before they occur."

Employers or employees seeking assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit www.fairwork.gov.au. A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Follow the Fair Work Ombudsman on Twitter @fairwork_gov_au external-icon.png or find us on Facebook external-icon.png.

Media inquiries:

Richard Honey, Adviser, Media & Stakeholder Relations,
(03) 9954 2716, 0457 924 146
richard.honey@fwo.gov.au

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