MORE than 750 workers at retail stores throughout Australia have received an unexpected bonus - more than half a million dollars in back-pay.
The underpayments came to light following random audits of almost 2000 retail employers by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
A targeted education and compliance campaign has recovered $585,000 for 755 retail staff who were being unknowingly underpaid.
NSW employers accounted for 41 per cent of the total underpayment, with businesses being asked to reimburse $237,786 to 220 employees.
Fair Work inspectors also recouped:
- $153,820 for 187 staff in Victoria,
- $74,729 for 95 staff in South Australia,
- $45,071 for 125 staff in Queensland,
- $43,659 for 66 staff in Western Australia,
- $12,091 for 26 staff in Tasmania,
- $10,242 for 16 staff in the Northern Territory, and
- $8001 for 20 staff in the ACT.
Of 1866 employers audited so far, 492 (26 per cent) have recorded a total of 653 contraventions - primarily relating to underpayment of wages, failure to conform with payslip requirements and failure to adhere to time and wage requirements.
A further 224 businesses remain under investigation.
A few "Don'ts" for business owners
- Employing adults only, potentially in breach of anti-discrimination laws,
- Unlawfully requiring staff to make purchases in-house and deducting the price from employee's wages,
- Incorrectly classifying employees, and thus underpaying their entitlements, and
- Expecting staff to perform set up and closing duties outside of trading hours for no payment.