Bateau Bay and Lake Haven employers reimburse $42,000 to underpaid workers
29 October 2014
Fourteen businesses at Bateau Bay and Lake Haven on the NSW Central Coast have reimbursed 62 of their staff a total of $42,000 after auditing by the Fair Work Ombudsman found the employees were being underpaid.
The businesses were among 22 independently-owned and operated businesses in the areas randomly audited by Fair Work inspectors late last year.
More than half of the underpayments occurred at one Bateau Bay business, which had short-changed eight workers, including a number from non-English speaking backgrounds, almost $23,000.
Fair Work inspectors also found that a further six businesses had contravened record-keeping and pay slip laws. Only two of the 22 businesses were fully compliant with workplace laws.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the businesses which had underpaid their employees co-operated with inspectors and rectified all outstanding entitlements without the need for further enforcement action.
“We have a flexible and fair approach to inadvertent mistakes and employers who are willing to co-operate with us to ensure they don’t occur in the future,” Ms James said.
However, Infringement Notices totalling $5100 were issued against one employer who had been cautioned previously about failing to keep accurate records and issue pay slips.
The audits were prompted by persistent requests for assistance from Central Coast workers about their workplace rights being compromised.
Fair Work inspectors also provided employers with information and advice about how the Fair Work Ombudsman can assist them to understand and comply with their workplace obligations.
The Fair Work Ombudsman website - www.fairwork.gov.au - contains a range of tools and resources, including PayCheck Plus and an Award Finder, to assist business owners and employees determine the correct award and minimum wages for their industry.
Ms James says the Agency is committed to assisting small businesses, who represent the majority of Australian employers, understand and meet their obligations.
“Small businesses often don’t have the benefit of in-house human resources and payroll staff, so we place a high priority on assisting them and developing tools and resources to make their compliance obligations easier,” she said.
Employers and employees seeking information and advice can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. A free interpreter service is also available on 13 14 50.
Tom McPherson, Media Adviser
Mobile: 0439 835 855