Workers finally back-paid

WORKERS in central Melbourne have been back-paid a total of $344,600 following recent intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The largest recovery was $72,100 for 28 workers at a retail outlet in the CBD.

The Fair Work Ombudsman randomly audited the business and found the workers had been underpaid the minimum hourly rate and penalty rates between March, 2010 and April, 2011.

The underpayments ranged from $380 to $7775.

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

Other recent recoveries include:

  • $36,500 for two CBD medical professionals underpaid wages, pay in lieu of notice, annual leave, redundancy and superannuation entitlements,
  • $33,700 for 28 CBD food and beverage assistants underpaid the minimum hourly rate and penalty rates,
  • $25,400 for a CBD marketing manager not paid for all hours worked or annual leave entitlements,
  • $17,300 for an elderly shoe repairer based in the CBD not paid wages and underpaid superannuation entitlements,
  • $15,400 for an IT professional in the CBD underpaid severance entitlements,
  • $14,600 for a CBD cleaner not paid penalty rates,
  • $12,400 for a fast food worker in the CBD underpaid the minimum hourly rate,
  • $10,900 for a Port Melbourne manager underpaid annual leave entitlements and not paid wages for some time worked,
  • $10,100 for a worker at a CBD labour-hire business not paid long service leave entitlements,
  • $9800 for a CBD cleaner underpaid the minimum hourly rate,
  • $9400 for a removalist at a CBD business underpaid the minimum hourly rate and overtime penalty rates,
  • $9200 for a CBD sales assistant underpaid the minimum hourly rate and penalty rates,
  • $8900 for marketing manager in the CBD underpaid annual leave entitlements,
  • $8800 for eight young international students working as shop assistants in the CBD underpaid the minimum hourly rate and penalty rates,
  • $8600 for a South Melbourne plumber not paid wages,
  • $8000 for a waitress in the CBD underpaid the minimum hourly rate, causal loadings and penalty rates,
  • $6100 for a CBD administration assistant underpaid the minimum hourly rate,     
  • $6100 for a programmer at a CBD business not paid for trial work,
  • $5800 for a Southbank broker underpaid wages, annual leave entitlements and pay in lieu of notice,
  • $5300 for a Docklands office manager underpaid wages and annual leave entitlements,
  • $5200 for a CBD manager not paid wages, and
  • $5000 for a casual bank teller in the CBD underpaid the minimum hourly rate.

The Fair Work Ombudsman recovered a total of $7.573 million in back-pay for 3556 underpaid workers in Victoria 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.
          
Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson says that 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 Melbourne 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 that the Fair Work Ombudsman's Assisted Voluntary Resolution team is now achieving resolution of about half its referrals with the first month.

Free documentation is available Online for employers to use when hiring, managing and dismissing staff, including letters of engagement and probation, timesheet and pay slip templates, leave application forms, a self-audit check list and workplace complaint form.

The website has a number of tools and resources, including PayCheck Plus and an Award Finder, to assist business-owners to calculate the correct pay for their employees.

An 'Industries' section on the website provides extra, specialised information for employers and employees in the retail, cleaning, clerical, hair and beauty, security, horticulture, fast food, hospitality and vehicle industries.

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



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