$215,000 back-paid to workers

MORE than 70 workers in and around Perth have been recently been back-paid a total of $215,000, Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson announced during a visit to Perth today.

Mr Wilson said the largest recovery was $31,100 in entitlements owed to 29 manufacturing workers at Kelmscott.

The employees had been underpaid the minimum hourly rate, penalty rates, allowances and annual leave loading between January and December, 2009.

Mr Wilson said the underpayments, which ranged from $28 through to $1736, were detected when the employer was randomly selected for audit.

After a Fair Work inspector contacted the business and explained its obligations, the employees were promptly reimbursed without the need for further action against the employer.

Other recent recoveries include:

  • $27,900 for three workers at a Cannington manufacturing business underpaid annual leave entitlements,
  • $22,200 for 22 communications workers at Osborne Park underpaid the minimum hourly rate,
  • $22,200 for a CBD cleaner underpaid the minimum hourly rate, allowances and annual leave entitlements, $16,100 for a mining industry worker at Belmont underpaid wages, annual leave entitlements and wages in lieu of notice,
  • $11,700 for three young trade assistants at Malaga underpaid the minimum hourly rate,
  • $11,700 for a worker at a Cloverdale retail business not paid annual leave and long service leave entitlements,
  • $10,400 for six security industry workers at Ellenbrook underpaid the minimum hourly rate and penalty rates,
  • $9100 for an apprentice at Victoria Park underpaid the minimum hourly rate and not paid for all hours worked,
  • $8800 for a CBD finance worker underpaid annual leave entitlements and not paid for all hours worked,
  • $7300 for a Fremantle chef underpaid penalty rates,
  • $7000 for a CBD worker in the entertainment industry not paid wages,
  • $7000 for two retail workers at Port Kennedy not paid severance and annual leave entitlements,
  • $6200 for a CBD recruiter underpaid wages in lieu of notice and accrued annual leave entitlements and not paid for all hours worked,
  • $5600 for a mining industry worker at a CBD business not paid two weeks' wages,
  • $5600 for a Bibra Lake apprentice not paid termination entitlements, and
  • $5100 for a Cottesloe manager underpaid annual leave entitlements.

The Fair Work Ombudsman recovered a total of $1.788 million back-pay for 1480 underpaid workers in WA last financial year.

Nationally, between July 1, 2009 and December 31, 2011 the Agency recovered a total of $68.2 million for 41,224 underpaid workers.
          
Mr Wilson says when Fair Work inspectors identify a problem and contact a business, most employers check their records, realise a problem has occurred and fix it immediately.

"We're here to assist and give practical advice to employers on how to voluntarily resolve issues," Mr Wilson says.

"These Perth businesses have now corrected the errors that led to the underpayments and put processes in place to ensure they will not happen again."

Mr Wilson says the Fair Work Ombudsman's Assisted Voluntary Resolution team is now achieving resolution of about half its referrals within the first month.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is helping to make compliance with workplace laws easier by:

Providing a range of free, easy-to-use tools and resources on its website - www.fairwork.gov.au - accessible 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week.

Assisting employers and employees who call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 between 8 am and 6 pm weekdays with advice, information and assistance about their workplace rights and obligations.

Pro-actively conducting national, state and regional targeted campaigns for different industry sectors in various geographic locations.

Working co-operatively with key stakeholders, including employer groups, unions and industry associations, to increase understanding of workplace obligations.

Giving practical advice to employers who are the subject of complaints from employees about how to resolve issues and operate at best practice.

Working with major national employers and franchisors to ensure they meet their obligations under the Fair Work Act, National Employment Standards and other applicable industrial instruments.

Promoting its various tools and resources through the media, external communication campaigns and social media to generate awareness of workplace rights and obligations.

Follow the Fair Work Ombudsman on Twitter @fairwork_gov_au  or find us on Facebook www.facebook.com.au/fairwork.gov.au.



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