NSW Central Coast workers back-paid $63,000

6 November 2013

NSW Central Coast workers have been repaid $63,700 in wages and entitlements following recent intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The largest repayment was $17,900 for a Gosford childcare worker underpaid the minimum hourly rate between 2009 and 2012 after her employer misclassified her position.

In another case, an administration officer at a Wyong business was repaid $12,700 after being underpaid the minimum hourly rate between 2011 and earlier this year.

Fair Work Ombudsman, Natalie James, said the cases highlight the importance of classifying and paying employees correctly.

"Even a small error in an employee's base hourly rate left unchecked over time can result in a large underpayment having to be rectified, as occurred in these cases," Ms James said.

"No business wants to face a big bill for back-payment of wages they weren't budgeting for."

Other recent recoveries at Gosford include:

  • $10,000 for an administration officer at automotive retail business underpaid the minimum hourly rate between 2008 and 2011,
  • $10,000 for a labourer underpaid his casual loading entitlements between 2012 and earlier this year,
  • $7,600 for a manager at a manufacturing business not paid out his redundancy pay entitlements in 2012, and
  • $5,500 for a shop assistant underpaid the minimum hourly rate between 2009 and 2012 as well as her annual leave entitlements upon termination of employment.

The employees were reimbursed all money owed without the need for further action after Fair Work Inspectors contacted the businesses and explained their obligations.

Ms James said Inspectors also helped business owners to put processes in place to ensure they comply with workplace laws in the future.

"Our preference is always to work with employers to educate them and help them voluntarily rectify any non-compliance issues we identify," she said.

The Fair Work Ombudsman's website - www.fairwork.gov.au - contains a range of tools and resources, including PayCheck Plus and an Award Finder, to help business owners calculate the correct pay and entitlements for workers.

A free handbook for employers about their rights and responsibilities is also available for download from the website, including in formats suitable for e-readers such as Kindle and iPad.

Employers and workers seeking assistance should visit the website or contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

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