$34,400 back-pay for Goldfields workers

19 January 2015

A number of workers in Victoria’s Goldfields region have been back-paid $34,400 in wages and entitlements following recent intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The biggest recovery was $15,000 for two cooks at a restaurant in Bendigo.

The employees were paid flat hourly rates that resulted in them being underpaid their weekend penalty rates and overtime.

The errors occurred because the business did not take into account the shifts the employees would be working when it calculated their wages.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the underpayments were inadvertent and the employer immediately rectified the error when it was identified as part of a pro-active compliance and education campaign.

“It is important for Goldfields region employers to be fully aware of the wages and penalty rates that apply to their employees, otherwise they can end up facing hefty bills they weren’t budgeting for,” Ms James said.

Other recent recoveries in the region include:

  • $12,800 for an IT officer at a Bendigo retail business underpaid his redundancy entitlements on termination, and
  • $6700 for six young wait staff at a Ballarat café underpaid their minimum hourly rates over a six-month period.

Ms James says all employees have been reimbursed without the need for further enforcement action after Fair Work inspectors contacted the employers and explained their obligations under workplace laws.

Fair Work inspectors also informed employers about the range of free tools available at www.fairwork.gov.au to help them comply with workplace laws. Employers and employees seeking reliable advice can visit the website or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Ms James says the Fair Work Ombudsman supports compliant, productive and inclusive Australian workplaces by providing practical advice that is easy to access, understand and apply.

“Equipping people with the information they need encourages and empowers employees and employers to resolve issues in their workplace and build a culture of compliance, ensuring a level playing field for all.”

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.

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.

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Tom McPherson, Media Adviser
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