Orange, Dubbo and Cowra workers back-paid $134,000

2 April 2013

Workers at Orange, Dubbo and Cowra have been back-paid a total of $134,100 following recent intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

In the largest case, a salesperson at Orange was back-paid $99,700 in employee entitlements, including annual leave and superannuation, after being misclassified as an independent contractor between 2006 and 2009.

Fair Work Ombudsman Group Manager, Michael Campbell, said it was important for employers to ensure they did not inadvertently misclassify workers as contractors when, under workplace laws, they should be classified as employees.

"Misclassification of workers is a serious matter because it can lead to workers missing out on employee entitlements, such as minimum wages and annual leave, which employers will then need to back-pay," Mr Campbell said.

"Just because a worker has an Australian Business Number (ABN) or invoices a business to receive payment doesn't automatically mean the worker is an independent contractor."

Mr Campbell said employers and workers seeking information on the differences between contractors and employees should visit the Fair Work Ombudsman's website at www.fairwork.gov.au/contractors.

Other recent recoveries include:

  • $16,100 for a Cowra farmhand underpaid wages between 2007 and 2012,
  • $7,500 for a tradesman at Orange not paid wages and entitlements upon termination in 2012,
  • $5,800 for a Dubbo painter not paid redundancy entitlements in 2012, and
  • $5,000 for a retail assistant at Cowra underpaid weekend penalty rates and overtime rates between 2009 and 2012.

In all cases, after Fair Work inspectors contacted the businesses and explained their obligations the employees were reimbursed all money owed without the need for further action against the employer.

Mr Campbell said 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.

The Fair Work Ombudsman recouped $17.4 million in back-pay for 5066 workers in NSW/ACT last financial year.

Employers and employees seeking information and advice should visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Infoline on 13 13 94.

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

Media inquiries:

Penny Rowe, Media & Stakeholder Relations
Mobile: 0457 924 146
penny.rowe@fwo.gov.au

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