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FWO recovers $580,000 in unpaid wages

FWO recovers $580,000 in unpaid wages

Nearly 1,000 workers in regional Queensland, NSW and Victoria have been back paid more than $580,000 after Fair Work inspectors uncovered widespread non-compliance with Australia’s workplace laws.

  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • May 28, 2019
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Fair Work inspectors visited 1,385 businesses across the country and found that 22 per cent of them failed to pay their employees correctly.

Moreover, 15 per cent of the audited businesses were in breach of non-monetary obligations by not providing proper payslips or keeping proper employment records, while 6 per cent failed to both pay their employees correctly and meet their non-monetary obligations.

The FWO recovered an average of about $600 per underpaid employee. The most common breach of workplace laws was underpayment of the minimum hourly rate, with inspectors also uncovering underpayment of overtime and penalty rates.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator targeted regions based on intelligence.

“Fair Work inspectors targeted specific regions after employees contacted us for help, many of whom could be vulnerable to workplace exploitation due to their youth or visa status,” Ms Parker said.

“It is unacceptable that almost half of the businesses we visited were simply unaware of their obligations under workplace laws and were not paying the lawful minimum hourly wage.”

The FWO said it will revisit these businesses as part of its ongoing national proactive compliance monitoring programs.

In addition to recovering lost wages, inspectors issued 39 cautions, warning employers about the consequences of continued non-compliance, and 27 on-the-spot fines, which involve penalties of $5,960 for breaches of pay slip or record-keeping requirements.

The FWO noted that its Small Business Showcase makes it easier for small business owners to access resources on workplace laws, with information on hiring, paying and managing employees, handling employee requests and keeping accurate records.

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