Back-pay for workers in Melbourne’s south-east

12 August 2016

Four retail shop assistants in Dandenong are sharing more than $14,400 back-pay after the Fair Work Ombudsman found they were being short-changed.

The casual employees, who worked at a local butchery, were paid flat rates that were below the minimum entitlements under the General Retail Industry Award.

And the workers did not get weekend or public holiday penalties for eight months.

The largest back-payment for an individual worker was $6100.

All employees were from a non-English speaking background.

The employer - also from a non-English speaking background - did not have a full understanding of his obligations under federal workplace laws.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says employers need to ensure they understand the wages applicable to their individual workplace.

"Our Online tools and resources can assist employers to determine their relevant Award, as well as classification and wages, including base pay rates, allowances, overtime and penalty rates," Ms James says.

"Our focus is on educating employers about their obligations and assisting them to put processes in place to ensure that any errors we find don't occur again."

The underpayment was discovered during recent pro-active auditing of businesses in the Dandenong region.

In a separate matter, the Fair Work Ombudsman negotiated back-payment of $12,600 for 10 commercial cleaners in Dandenong who were underpaid their part-time loading and a full-time cleaner who did not receive his travel allowance.

Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit or phone the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.

A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Small businesses calling the Infoline can opt to receive priority service to assist with their inquiries.

Visit the Pay and Conditions Tool at

Online tools can help determine the correct wages for employees, and there are templates for time and wages records.

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.

Sign up to receive the Fair Work Ombudsman’s media releases direct to your email inbox at

Media inquiries:

Annie Lawson, Media Adviser
Mobile: 0466 522 004