Are you being paid, or paying, the correct penalty rates?
FRASER Coast businesses and staff are being asked to check the correct penalty rates are being paid during the Christmas period.
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten encouraged employers and employees to carefully check pay rates and entitlements that applied on the Christmas and New Year public holidays.
"Given that we see a rise in complaints about public holiday penalty rates every January and February, we want people to think about this issue now," he said.
"Whether you are a business operator preparing for a busy festive trading period or an employee working through the holiday season, it's important you are aware of the penalty rates that apply."
Statistics from the Fair Work Ombudsman showed employees under 30 in the accommodation and food services sector topped the list of workers who complained about being underpaid penalty rates on public holidays last financial year.
A total of 168 employees in the sector complained about being underpaid public holiday penalty rates, with most complaints (92) coming from employees aged under 30.
There were 850 complaints received across all industries about the non-payment or underpayment of penalty rates on public holidays and about 30% of the employees who complained were aged under 25.
About 400 of the 850 complaints were substantiated, requiring employers to provide back-pay to their staff with individual amounts as high as $3500.
Accommodation and food services and the retail sectors accounted for about 30% of all complaints relating to penalty rates on public holidays.
The retail industry generated 99 complaints, almost half of them from employees who were aged under 30.
"We know that most employers in Australia do the right thing, and those who get it wrong usually do so by accident," Mr Shorten said.
"But as a Labor Government, we know it's very important to have an effective safety net to ensure all Australian employers know their obligations and all Australian workers receive the correct pay and entitlements."
The Fair Work Ombudsman has updated the public holidays section of its website, fairwork.gov.au/publicholidays, with information about penalty rates on public holidays in each State and Territory.
The information includes the dates of various public holidays and part-day public holidays, together with advice relating to rates of pay and requesting or declining to work on public holidays.