Findings on investigation relating to ACT Ambulance Service
27 November 2013
The Fair Work Ombudsman has today published a report detailing the findings
of its investigation relating to workers at the ACT Ambulance Service.
The Fair Work Ombudsman's investigation was in response to concerns raised by
the Transport Workers Union of Australia relating to the accuracy of employee
leave records kept by the ACT Government and the attempts to recover apparent
overpayments to workers.
The investigation determined the ACT Government entity employing the workers
was the Justice and Community Safety Directorate in the ACT.
The Fair Work Ombudsman's report details a chronology of events and issues
which led to concerns over the accuracy of employee records, including the
employer’s publication of incorrect and potentially inflated leave balances on
employee pay slips for a period of more than two years.
The report acknowledges actions taken by the employer to address problems
with payroll management systems over time but states, 'this action did not
successfully manage the potential consequences resulting from the continued
publication of incorrect leave balances'.
In its report, the Fair Work Ombudsman states that it expects the Justice and
Community Safety Directorate will consider its findings and ensure that it
resolves this and any further similar disputes in accordance with workplace
The Fair Work Ombudsman has found the Justice and Community Safety
Directorate contravened workplace laws relating to keeping accurate employee
records and correcting those records as soon as the employer becomes aware of
The Fair Work Ombudsman will issue a Letter of Caution to the Justice and
Community Safety Directorate in relation to these contraventions and has put it
on notice regarding future compliance.
The Fair Work Ombudsman examined the issue of recovery of leave overpayments
and determined that under the Fair Work Act, it may be lawful for the Justice
and Community Safety Directorate to use the employees' Enterprise Agreement to
recover overpayments by deduction from employees' wages, subject to statutory
and procedural requirements.
Group Manager Operations for the Fair Work Ombudsman, Michael Campbell, said: "There needs to be genuine agreement, recorded in writing, between employer and
employee before an employer makes deductions from an employee's pay. In this,
and similar matters, the employer must demonstrate a sound evidence base
quantifying the overpayments and when the overpayments occurred. The Enterprise
Agreement provides clear guidelines. The employer must come to an agreement with
each employee on a reasonable rate of recovery and reasonable terms of
The Fair Work Ombudsman will conduct further inspection of the Justice and
Community Safety Directorate’s records before September 2014 to check that it is
complying with its obligations.
The Fair Work Ombudsman's report is available at www.fairwork.gov.au.
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.
Find out more:
Ryan Pedler, Assistant Director, Media & Stakeholder Relations,
0411 430 902
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