Cleaners to see more in pay packets

30 July 2015

Nine cleaners at several Myer sites in Melbourne will have larger pay packets in future after the Fair Work Ombudsman found they had been collectively short-changed $6300 in less than a month.

The underpayments were discovered after Fair Work inspectors made an unannounced site visit to Myer’s Fountain Gate site at 6am on December 11 last year.

Inspectors were checking whether companies contracted by Myer to provide cleaning services were meeting their obligations under the Fair Work Act and the Cleaning Services Award 2010.

They interviewed two Fountain Gate cleaners who worked for cleaning services contractor A&K Saana Services, which was sub-contracted to clean Myer sites at Knox City, Highpoint, Fountain Gate and Altona.  

Myer had a services agreement with RCS Cleaning Services, which in turn sub-contracted to Pioneer Cleaning Australia Pty Ltd, which in turn sub-contracted to Preston-based A&K Saana Services.

The two cleaners were each earning $17 an hour, regardless of the hours and days they worked. One was an employee, the other purportedly an independent contractor.

The Fair Work Ombudsman subsequently determined they should both have been classified as employees and been paid at least $22.51 an hour.

After meeting with A&K director Admir Kolakovic, company business manager Adnan Kolakovic and their accountant, Fair Work inspectors found that as well as underpaying its direct employees, the company had misclassified a number of staff as independent contractors.

Inspectors identified that nine staff had been short-changed amounts ranging from $225 to $1009 for the pay period May 4 to 31 this year. They were underpaid their minimum hourly rate, minimum four-hour engagement period, broken shift allowances, penalty rates for early and late shifts, overtime rates and penalties for weekend and public holiday work.

Senior Fair Work Ombudsman officials have met with Myer to discuss the importance of the retail giant ensuring those companies in its supply chain are compliant with their lawful workplace obligations, particularly minimum wage rates.

A&K Saana Services is one of a number of sub-contractors to Pioneer that has been found to have misclassified and underpaid its workers.

As a result of the contraventions, A&K director Admir Kolakovic has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) with the Fair Work Ombudsman to ensure behavioural change and future compliance with workplace laws.

Enforceable Undertakings were introduced by legislation in 2009 and the Fair Work Ombudsman has been using them to achieve strong outcomes against companies that breach workplace laws, without the need for civil court proceedings.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James encouraged employers who had any uncertainty about whether their workplace practices were appropriate or not to visit or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for advice.

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A&K Saana Services Enforceable Undertaking 

Media inquiries:

Nicci de Ryk, Senior Media Adviser
Mobile: 0466 522 004