Fair Work Ombudsman focuses on Hunter and Central Coast play centres

14 October 2013

The Fair Work Ombudsman will visit children’s play centres in the Hunter and NSW Central Coast this week after the national workplace regulator received complaints about the possible underpayment of wages to staff.

Fair Work Inspectors will visit about half a dozen children’s play centres that also provide out-of-school-hours and short-term child care services.

They will check that businesses are paying staff correctly, including providing the correct hourly rates, overtime and penalty rates, and keeping accurate records and issuing complete pay slips.

Fair Work Ombudsman, Natalie James, said the visits will focus on ensuring employers are aware of their workplace obligations and the tools available to help them comply.

“A key part of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s role is to educate and help businesses, particularly small businesses that don’t have the benefit of in-house human resources expertise, about how to comply with workplace laws, and that’s what we’ll be doing during these visits,” said Ms James.

“Where we identify problems, we’ll work with employers and help them to put processes in place to ensure that they comply in the future.”

Ms James said the visits were prompted by information provided by the community about the possible underpayment of wages to staff, including several complaints from play centre workers.

“We’re mindful that this industry employs many young people who can be vulnerable in the workplace because they may not be fully aware of their entitlements or where to go for advice, so it’s important we are proactive about protecting their workplace rights,” 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 determine the correct pay rates and minimum entitlements for their employees.

The website also contains templates for time-and-wages records and best practice guides on a range of topics, including effective dispute resolution and employing young workers.

In addition to visiting Hunter and Central Coast play centres this week, the Fair Work Ombudsman will audit up to 100 child care centres across New South Wales as part of a national campaign focused on improving compliance with workplace laws in the child care industry.

Workers or employers seeking support 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.

Information about the Fair Work Ombudsman’s national child care campaign is available at: www.fairwork.gov.au/childcare.

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