$20,000 back-pay for dozens of workers at Port Lincoln and Whyalla

2 February 2016

Dozens of workers at Port Lincoln and Whyalla have been short-changed thousands of dollars, recent investigations by the Fair Work Ombudsman have revealed.

Almost 70 workers at one business in Port Lincoln have been reimbursed a total of $11,350 after their employer inadvertently failed to pass on an increase in Sunday penalty rates.

The largest individual underpayment was $355.

Fair Work inspectors discovered the underpayments when they conducted a random audit of the business as part of a National Compliance Monitoring Campaign.

The oversight resulted in employees being paid incorrectly for nine months.

In a separate matter, a hospitality business at Whyalla was found to have underpaid 13 of its staff almost $8000.

The casual employees, working as cooks, kitchen hands, grounds people, cleaners and food and beverage attendants, were short-changed their minimum hourly rates.

The largest individual underpayment was $1629.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the two cases highlight the importance of regional employers in South Australia ensuring they understand the wage rates applicable to their workplace.

“Underpayment of hourly rates can result in employees being significantly underpaid if left unchecked for an extended period, which can leave businesses facing big back-payments they weren’t budgeting for,” she said.

Ms James says employers should take advantage of the free tools and resources offered by the Fair Work Ombudsman to assist businesses to understand and comply with their lawful obligations.

A suite of innovative and interactive materials is available at www.fairwork.gov.au, including a Pay and Conditions Tool (PACT) that provides advice about entitlements.

Employers and employees seeking assistance can also call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. Small business can opt to be put through to a small business helpline, which has helped more than 250,000 callers since it was established.

Follow Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James on Twitter @NatJamesFWO external-icon.png, the Fair Work Ombudsman @fairwork_gov_au External link icon or find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/fairwork.gov.au External link icon.

Sign up to receive the Fair Work Ombudsman’s media releases direct to your email inbox at www.fairwork.gov.au/mediareleases.

Media inquiries:

Lara O'Toole, Media Adviser
Mobile: 0439 835 855

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