South-East Queensland workers back-paid $52,000
11 February 2014
A number of workers in South-East Queensland have been back-paid more than
$52,000 in wages and entitlements following recent intervention by the Fair Work
The biggest recovery was $25,200 shared by two employees in Toowoomba who
were underpaid their annual leave entitlements between 2010 and 2013.
The workers, a cook and a maintenance officer, were underpaid $16,100 and
$9100 respectively as a result of their employer mistakenly believing they were
not entitled to annual leave entitlements under the employment contracts they
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says employers need to be aware that
entitlements provided by the National Employment Standards, including annual
leave, can't be negotiated away.
"Employment contracts or handshake agreements with employees do not exempt
employers from providing the minimum entitlements provided by workplace laws," Ms James said.
"It is important employers ensure they are aware of their obligations under
workplace laws, otherwise they can end up facing big back-payment bills they
were not budgeting for.
"A key role of the Fair Work Ombudsman is to educate employers about their
workplace obligations and to help them get it right, and that was certainly our
focus in these cases."
Other recent recoveries include:
- $20,000 for two workers, aged 19 and 22, at an Ipswich fast food business
underpaid their minimum hourly rates between 2009 and 2013, and
- $7400 for a medical receptionist at Caboolture not paid her long service
leave entitlements on termination of employment in 2013.
Ms James said the employees were reimbursed all money owed without the need
for further action after Fair Work inspectors contacted the businesses and
explained their obligations.
"These underpayments were genuine mistakes and it was pleasing to see all
business owners accept assistance from Fair Work inspectors to put processes in
place to ensure ongoing compliance with workplace law," she said.
The Fair Work Ombudsman's website - www.fairwork.gov.au – contains a variety
of tools and resources to help employers easily understand and comply with
Website tools include an Award Finder and PayCheck Plus to assist employers
determine the correct hourly rates, overtime and penalty rates for employees.
Templates for time-and-wages sheets and pay slips are also available.
Employers and employees seeking further advice or assistance can also call
the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. A free interpreter service
is available on 13 14 50.
Follow the Fair Work Ombudsman on Twitter @fairwork_gov_au
or find us on Facebook
Tom McPherson, Media Adviser
Mobile: 0439 835 855
Want to save this information for later?
If you might need to read this information again, save it for later so you can access it quickly and easily.
Page reference No: 2611