Hunter Valley workers back-paid $71,000

14 September 2012

More than a dozen workers in the Hunter Valley region of NSW have been back-paid a total of $71,900 following recent intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The largest recovery was $21,600 for five workers at a Maitland business.

The Fair Work Ombudsman randomly audited the hospitality business and found the employees - including adults and juniors - had been underpaid the minimum hourly rate and penalty rates between 2009 and 2011.

Individual underpayments ranged between $730 and $8700.

After a Fair Work inspector contacted the business and explained its obligations, the workers were reimbursed all money owed without the need for further action against the employer.

Other recent recoveries include:

  • $12,100 for two security guards at Newcastle underpaid the minimum hourly rate and penalty rates,
  • $10,600 for four labourers at Cessnock underpaid penalty rates,
  • $8500 for retail worker at Pokolbin underpaid the minimum hourly rate and penalty rates,
  • $7500 for a cook at Scone underpaid wages in lieu of notice and annual leave entitlements,
  • $6300 for a Raymond Terrace delivery driver underpaid penalty rates, and
  • $5300 for an apprentice at Newcastle underpaid the minimum hourly rate.

Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson says when Fair Work inspectors identify a problem and contact a business, most employers check their records, realise a problem has occurred and fix it immediately.

“Our approach is fair and flexible. When we find mistakes, we’re here to assist and give practical advice to employers on how to voluntarily fix them,” Mr Wilson says.

“The Hunter Valley businesses involved have now corrected the errors that led to the underpayments and put processes in place to ensure they will not happen again.”

Workers or employers seeking support should get in touch with the Fair Work Ombudsman via the website - www.fairwork.gov.au - or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Media inquiries:

Penny Rowe, Media & Stakeholder Relations
0457 924 146
Penelope.Rowe@fwo.gov.au

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