Retail worker at Colac paid $11 an hour

15 November 2016

A retail worker at Colac in Victoria’s south-west region has been back-paid $13,800 following intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The part-time employee was paid just $11 an hour over a 12-month period.

He should have received a minimum hourly rate of $20.13 under the General Retail Industry Award.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the worker’s employer avoided enforcement action by promptly rectifying the underpayment after being issued with a Compliance Notice.

“We’ve put this business on notice that it is unlawful to undercut minimum lawful pay rates, even if an employee says they agree to it,” Ms James said.

Other recent recoveries in Victoria’s south-west include:

  • $14,835 for seven employees at a Warrnambool services business who were underpaid minimum lawful wage rates as a result of the employer not updating pay rates following an Annual Wage Review decision, and
  • $7580 for three Warrnambool manufacturing workers who were underpaid their minimum hourly rates and overtime.

All underpayments were discovered during proactive Fair Work Ombudsman audits.

Ms James says most underpayments identified by the Agency are inadvertent and the result of employers failing to check their minimum obligations under workplace laws.

“When we find errors, our preference is to educate employers about their obligations and assist them to put processes in place to ensure the mistakes are not repeated,” she said.

“However, we will take enforcement action against employers with significant non-compliance issues where we believe it is in the public interest to do so.

“It is important that businesses, particularly small businesses, know that they can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for advice if they are unsure about their obligations.”

The Fair Work Ombudsman recovered a total of $185,000 for 156 underpaid employees throughout South-west Victoria last financial year.

Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit at or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

The Fair Work Infoline offers a priority service to small business callers whose leading concerns are about wages, conditions, termination of employment, leave and entitlements.

Small business operators can also use a suite of tools and resources on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website, including the Pay and Conditions Tool (PACT) which provides advice about pay, shift, leave and redundancy entitlements. 

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Media inquiries:

Eithne Johnston, Media Adviser
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