Follow-up visit shows compliance boosted in Mount Isa

1 October 2013

Four Mount Isa businesses with previous pay and record-keeping breaches are complying with workplace laws, a recent follow-up visit by the Fair Work Ombudsman has found.

Late last month, Fair Work Inspectors audited six randomly selected Mount Isa businesses that had recorded pay and record-keeping breaches over the past two and a half years.

They found that only one retail business was non-compliant, while a further business in the hair and beauty industry remains under investigation for suspected underpayments to staff.

All businesses were previously audited during a Fair Work Ombudsman campaign or had a complaint lodged against them and had agreed to rectify their breaches.

The non-compliant employer was fined $550 on-the-spot for failing to include the correct information on staff pay slips after being made aware of the issue and how to correct it during a previous audit.

Senior Fair Work Inspector, Charles Gregory, said that while it was disappointing to find one employer not complying with workplace laws, it was pleasing that four businesses previously in contravention were now clearly aware of their responsibilities and meeting them.

“It reinforces that our Inspectors’ approach of working co-operatively with employers to educate them about their obligations and assist them to put processes in place to ensure ongoing compliance is having a positive impact,” Mr Gregory said.

Mr Gregory said Fair Work Inspectors also took the opportunity to educate Mount Isa employers, including many small business operators, and employees about their rights and obligations.

“During free information sessions we spoke to about 25 employers and employees and provided advice about current pay rates, leave, conditions and other aspects of workplace laws.”

In one case, Inspectors helped an administration officer confirm her unpaid entitlements after she lost her job of more than 18 years when her employer was placed in the hands of receivers.

“We contacted the company’s receivers and they confirmed what was outstanding and agreed to reimburse her $22,000 in unpaid entitlements within the next fortnight, which is a very pleasing result,” Mr Gregory said.

Fair Work Inspectors also met with Mount Isa industry bodies and employer groups to discuss improving awareness of national workplace laws amongst the local community.

Mr Gregory said the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website - www.fairwork.gov.au - contains a range of self-help tools, including PayCheck Plus and an Award Finder, to help business owners and employees determine the correct pay rates and entitlements for their industry.

Small businesses without the benefit of in-house advice such as human resources staff can also ensure they are better equipped when hiring, managing and dismissing workers by using the range of free templates available online.

Employers and employees seeking further advice can get in touch with the Fair Work Ombudsman by calling the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

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