Metals workers recoup $52,000 in unpaid wages

22 January 2013

The Fair Work Ombudsman has recovered almost $52,000 for 37 metal industry workers across Australia as a result of a national campaign targeting manufacturers of structural metal products.

The campaign was launched early last year as a result of concern that the industry was accounting for a growing number of complaints to the Fair Work Ombudsman from within the manufacturing sector about pay and conditions.

More than 250 separate audits were conducted across Australia over the past year in businesses which manufacture joists, roof trusses, scaffolding, girders, garages, kit homes, sheds, gates, shutters, skylights, window frames and guttering.

Fair Work Ombudsman, Nicholas Wilson, said while a significant sum of money had been recouped for workers, the overall results of the audits was quite positive.

“Seventy-two per cent of all employers were found to be compliant with workplace laws while 28 per cent were found to have breaches for either underpaying staff or record keeping and pay slip breaches, or both,” Mr Wilson said.

Mr Wilson said one audit is ongoing, but all employers were willing to quickly rectify mistakes.

“In one case, an employer responded to the Fair Work Ombudsman’s request for documentation by conducting his own audit first and self-identifying a small underpayment to two employees which he rectified and advised us of,” Mr Wilson said.

“That shows how these audits play a key role in raising awareness amongst employers in particular industry sectors of the need to be constantly checking that their payroll systems are accurate and that a small mistake doesn’t go undetected for a long period, leading to a large reimbursement being required.

“We use these campaigns to not only identify problems in payments to staff and record keeping, but to work with employers to educate them about how to access information through Fair Work Ombudsman to help prevent mistakes in the future.”

Employers or employees seeking information and advice should visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Infoline on 13 13 94 8 am-6 pm weekdays.

The Fair Work Ombudsman website has a number of tools and resources, including PayCheckPlus and an Award Finder, to assist business owners calculate the correct pay for their employees.

An ‘Industries’ section on the website provides extra, specialised information for employers and employees in a range of industries, including metal manufacturing.

Campaign result:

Media inquiries:

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

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