Retailer revamps workplace practices

26 November 2014

A Sydney retail business has agreed to revamp its workplace practices after an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman found it had underpaid one of its staff almost $30,000.

The employee was engaged as a casual shop assistant by JPA Manchester Pty Ltd in April, 2010. 

She worked primarily at the company’s Neutral Bay store until March, 2012, when she was promoted to online sales manager at Redfern.

The 33-year-old Chinese national worked at Redfern until she resigned in February this year.

After investigating a complaint from the employee, Fair Work inspectors found she had been paid a flat hourly rate as low as $8 - well below the minimum required under the General Retail Industry Award 2010.

The business back-paid the employee a total of $27,967 last month.

JPA Manchester sells bed linen and homewares through its Sydney retail outlets. It also runs an online store under the name Benson Australia.

The company is owned and operated by Mr Jia Ping Ou, who has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The Enforceable Undertaking requires the company to complete workplace relations training and conduct self-auditing of other employee wages and entitlements.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says Enforceable Undertakings are one of a number of ways her Agency is encouraging voluntary compliance with federal workplace laws.

“We use Enforceable Undertakings where we have formed a view that a breach of the law has occurred, but where the employer has acknowledged this and accepted responsibility and agreed to co-operate with us and fix the problem,” she said.

“Many of the initiatives in EUs help to build a greater understanding of workplace responsibilities, motivate the company to do the right thing and help them avoid the same mistakes again.

“We know workplace laws can be complicated for the uninitiated, and for those who are not industrial experts, but we ask small business to use the tools and resources that we provide for them and inform themselves. 

“In return, you will be able to act with confidence. This protects you. It means that if a problem arises down the track, you can demonstrate your intention to do the right thing.”

Underpinning the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website tools and resources is its award-winning Small Business Helpline, where employers can get advice they can rely on with confidence.

Small businesses can sign up to a regular newsletter from the Fair Work Ombudsman with helpful workplace tips and information.

Employers or employees seeking assistance can contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit

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 External link icon.


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