Spotless boosts compliance with workplace laws

10 December 2013

The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured more than $90,000 back-pay for underpaid workers at services company Spotless as part of a collaborative initiative that has improved the company’s compliance with workplace laws.

The back-payments are part of a Proactive Compliance Deed negotiated between the Fair Work Ombudsman and Spotless.

The Proactive Compliance Deed involved Spotless self-auditing the pay provided to a sample of more than 1000 employees at two of its entities - Spotless Services Limited and Berkeley Challenge Pty Ltd - to ensure employees had received their full entitlements.

Employees at the two entities were also invited to lodge complaints with the Fair Work Ombudsman last year in relation to pay issues.

The self-audit by Spotless discovered $42,544 in underpayments of 275 employees and former employees, and 21 complaints lodged with the Fair Work Ombudsman resulted in a further $49,889 in underpayments being identified, making total underpayments identified through the Deed $92,433.

There were underpaid employees located in all States and Territories. Spotless has voluntarily rectified all underpayments.

Releasing the results of the Proactive Compliance Deed today, Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said three systematic compliance issues, primarily relating to the Cleaning Services Award 2010, were identified at Spotless:

  • Treatment of public holidays where employees worked across midnight,
  • Calculation of the additional annual leave entitlement for shift workers, and
  • Payment of leave loading on unused annual leave paid on termination.

Spotless entered into the Proactive Compliance Deed last year after the Fair Work Ombudsman received 200 complaints from employees of its companies over a six-year period resulting in back-payments of $200,000, and an investigation found hundreds of its casual employees at Paterson’s Stadium in Perth had been underpaid almost $85,000 on Anzac Day in 2009 and 2010.

Ms James said an important outcome of the Proactive Compliance Deed had been Spotless improving its systems and processes for complying with workplace laws.

“We congratulate Spotless for showing corporate responsibility and a commitment to operating fair workplaces to its thousands of young and casual employees,” Ms James said.

“The Fair Work Ombudsman will continue to work with Spotless to provide advice and assistance in relation to compliance with workplace laws.”

Ms James said Proactive Compliance Deeds were an important part of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s approach to ensuring compliance with workplace laws because they enabled the Agency to achieve results that were not possible through more cost-intensive, adversarial measures such as litigation.  McDonald’s, Domino’s, Red Rooster and cleaning company Asset Industries Australia have all entered into Proactive Compliance Deeds since 2011.

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

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