High marks for Tasmanian employers on pay rates

28 July 2014

More than 93 per cent of businesses in western Tasmania are correctly paying their employees, random audits by the Fair Work Ombudsman have revealed.

Fair Work inspectors made site visits to 55 businesses in and around Queenstown, Zeehan, Strahan, Tullah and Rosebery.

The face-to-face visits to employers followed information received by the Fair Work Ombudsman that some businesses may be paying cash-in-hand below minimum rates.

Inspectors found no evidence to substantiate these claims, but did identify four businesses paying incorrect wage rates to their employees.

Two of the four businesses have agreed to reimburse seven of their employees a total of $20,800 – an average of $2971 each.

Inspectors determined that the pay errors were inadvertent mistakes based on a lack of understanding by the employers of their obligations, and they were immediately rectified.

While two other employers had applied incorrect pay rates, their mistakes had not resulted in their employees being underpaid.

For example, one business had short-changed its staff by six cents an hour Monday to Friday, but paid above the minimum on Saturdays.

However, applying incorrect pay rates on weekdays is a workplace contravention and the business was requested to ensure it paid correct minimum Monday-to-Friday wage rates from now on. It is now doing so, in addition to maintaining its previous Saturday rates.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James today welcomed the high compliance findings with respect to wage rates, but noted that employers in western Tasmania needed to pay greater attention to their record-keeping obligations.

Twenty-two (40 per cent) of the 55 employers audited were found to have record-keeping and pay slip breaches, largely because they failed to contain the required information or issue pay slips within one day of employees being paid.

In May, the Fair Work Ombudsman announced it would be visiting up to 350 employers nationally to check on record-keeping practices.

Ms James says maintaining proper employment records is essential, and the Agency has developed free time and wages and pay slip templates to help make compliance easier.

People seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Infoline on 13 13 94.

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