200 Ipswich businesses to face wage audits
The Fair Work Ombudsman is auditing 200 businesses in Queensland’s Ipswich region as part of a new proactive compliance and education campaign.
Fair Work Inspectors are auditing time-and-wage records of randomly selected businesses in the manufacturing, hospitality and retail sectors, as well as a range of other industries.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says her Agency recovered $190,000 for 44 workers in the Ipswich region in the 2015-16 financial year and the region has a high unemployment rate and a high proportion of young workers.
“We are conscious that these factors can result in workers being more vulnerable to exploitation and potentially being asked to accept conditions that fail to meet legal requirements,” Ms James said.
“It is important that we are proactive about checking that employees are receiving their full lawful entitlements and improving compliance in the Ipswich region.”
Ms James says the campaign will also involve Fair Work Inspectors educating employers on their obligations and providing them with advice about how the Fair Work Ombudsman can assist them to access, understand and apply information to build a culture of compliance in their workplaces.
Employers found to be non-compliant will be assisted to rectify their issues and put processes in place to ensure future compliance.
Enforcement action is also possible in the most serious cases and where employers refuse to co-operate.
Local employer groups, including councils and business associations, have been contacted to seek their assistance in promoting the campaign.
Free tools and resources available on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website at www.fairwork.gov.au include the Pay and Conditions Tool (PACT), which provides advice about pay, shift, leave and redundancy entitlements.
Ms James says her Agency is also particularly focused on assisting workers who are new to the workforce because they can be vulnerable if not fully aware of their rights or reluctant to complain.
Last month, the Fair Work Ombudsman launched the ‘Record My Hours’ smartphone app which is aimed at tackling the persistent problem of underpayment of vulnerable young workers.
Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit the website or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50. Small business operators can opt to receive priority service from the Small Business Helpline.
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Matthew Raggatt, Senior Media Adviser
Mobile: 0466 470 507