Sydney workers paid $10 an hour

17 March 2016

Two employees who were paid just $10 an hour are among a group of Sydney workers who have been back-paid more than $50,000 following recent intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The 18-year-old receptionist and 39-year-old administrative assistant, who worked at a business in Redfern, should have been paid more than $17 an hour.

They were short-changed $8100 and $6400 respectively.

The employees requested assistance from the Fair Work Ombudsman after their own efforts to resolve a pay dispute with their employer had failed.

The business has now reimbursed all outstanding entitlements.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says employers must ensure they understand the wage rates applicable to their business, including minimum hourly rates, penalty rates and termination entitlements.

The Fair Work Ombudsman recovered $22.3 million for 11,613 underpaid workers nationally last financial year.

Of this, $6.8 million was recovered for 2799 workers in NSW, including $1.1 million for 542 workers in inner-Sydney.

Other recent recoveries in the inner-Sydney area include:

  • $17,000 for an administrative employee at a Darlinghurst business whose redundancy entitlements were not paid-out,
  • $7400 for an information technology worker in Surry Hills who did not receive his accrued annual and long service leave entitlements after he resigned,
  • $6600 for six deckhands working for a Harbour cruise company that underpaid their overtime entitlements, and
  • $6000 for a retail shop manager in the CBD who was not paid her accrued annual leave and redundancy entitlements on termination.

All businesses back-paid employees in full without the need for enforcement action and Fair Work inspectors advised employers about the steps they could take to ensure they comply with federal workplace laws in future.

Ms James encouraged employers and employees who had any uncertainty about their workplace practices and entitlements to visit or call the Fair Work Infoline for advice on 13 13 94.

Small businesses calling the Infoline can opt to be put through to a priority service to assist with their inquiries.

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Media inquiries:

Annie Lawson, Media Adviser
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Lara O'Toole, Media Adviser
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