$50,000 recovered for workers west of Melbourne

25 February 2017 

The Fair Work Ombudsman has assisted three workers in suburbs west of Melbourne to recover more than $50,000.

The largest recovery of $28,224 went to the former employee of a haulage company in Laverton North.

The long distance truck driver was underpaid his pay per kilometre rate and travel allowance over a five year period.

Just before his employment was terminated the full-time interstate line haul driver was receiving 37 cents per kilometre.

But during that period, under the Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award 2010, he should have received at least 40.88 cents per kilometre plus the appropriate travel allowance.

The driver contacted the Fair Work Ombudsman seeking assistance after realising he had been underpaid.

The business agreed to rectify the underpayment after being issued with a contravention letter by Fair Work Inspectors.

Inspectors also issued the employer with a Letter of Caution, placing it on notice that future breaches may attract enforcement action, including litigation.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says haulage companies need to remember that pay rates per kilometre are affected by the Annual Wage Review, just as hourly pay rates are.

“It may seem like an insignificant underpayment – around two cents an hour plus travel allowance - but mistakes like this can add up over time and leave an employer with a hefty bill for back-payment of entitlements that they were not budgeting for,” Ms James said.

The Fair Work Ombudsman also recently assisted with the following recoveries in Melbourne’s western suburbs:

  • $14,891 for a manager at an industrial equipment business in Derrimut who was not paid his annual leave entitlements upon termination,
  • $7309 for an apprentice carpenter in Caroline Springs who was underpaid his base hourly rate of pay over more than 12 months.

All employees have now been reimbursed their entitlements.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the businesses in these matters avoided enforcement action by co-operating and agreeing to take steps to ensure they comply in the future.

“Our online tools and resources can assist employers to determine their applicable Award, as well as classification and pay rates, allowances, overtime and penalty rates,” Ms James says.

Employers and employees who are seeking advice can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.  A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

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