Melbourne Accountant Back-paid $54,000 After Watchdog Steps In

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18th November 2009, 10:30am - Views: 1061

People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 1 image

People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 2 image

Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 

Media Release

         18 Nov 2009

Melbourne accountant back-paid $54,000 after

watchdog intervenes

An Brunswick accountant who lost his job has been back-paid more than $50,000

after he complained to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Investigators discovered the man had been short-changed on his minimum hourly

rate, annual leave entitlements and redundancy payment.

After Fair Work inspectors contacted the employer, the company voluntarily

reimbursed the accountant $54,600.

The case is one of dozens finalised recently on behalf of workers in Melbourne’s

Northern and North-Western suburbs.

Fair Work inspectors in Melbourne discovered the underpayments through a

combination of routine audits and investigations into complaints from workers.

Significant underpayments were recovered in the retail, security and cleaning


They include:

$18,200 for a North Melbourne security industry worker underpaid penalty


$11,830 for a migrant Fairfield cleaner underpaid the minimum hourly rate

and annual leave entitlements,

$7970 for a Brunswick retail worker underpaid the minimum hourly rate, pay

in lieu of notice and annual leave entitlements,

$5750 for a Coolaroo administration worker underpaid the minimum hourly


$5660 for a Campbellfield tradesman underpaid the minimum hourly rate

and overtime,

$5550 for a Collingwood sales manager underpaid annual leave entitlements

and expenses,

$5420 for a Sunshine service industry worker who was underpaid the

minimum hourly rate and had unlawful deductions made from wages,

$5030 for an Epping hairdresser underpaid the minimum hourly rate and

overtime rates, and

$3640 for a tyre fitter at Thomastown underpaid the minimum hourly rate,

overtime and annual leave entitlements. 

Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says most of the

underpayments were the result of a lack of understanding by employers of their

legal obligations, including applicable Awards and pay-scales.

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People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 3 image

Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 


“That’s why the Fair Work Ombudsman places such a strong focus on educating

employers and assisting them to understand and comply with workplace laws,” he


Mr Campbell says in most cases, the Fair Work Ombudsman does not prosecute

employers for inadvertent breaches of workplace laws.

“However, employers need to be aware that they can face fines of up $33,000 per

breach if we do take matters to court,” he said.

“Most of the $70 million we have recovered for 54,000 workers throughout

Australia over the past two years has been recouped without resorting to


Mr Campbell says employers or employees seeking up-to-date information on

wage rates and conditions should visit or contact the Fair Work

Infoline on 13 13 94. Translations are available by calling 13 14 50.

“The Fair Work Ombudsman’s website also includes information and templates to

help employers better manage employment records and payslips,” he said.

“Employers need to be aware that under Commonwealth workplace laws they

must keep accurate time, wages, annual leave and other employment records

and issue sufficiently detailed payslips.”

Eleven Best Practice Guides have been developed by the Fair Work Ombudsman

to assist employers make better use of the provisions of the Fair Work Act and

better understand other aspects of workplace laws.

The new guides are on the website and cover work and family, consultation and

co-operation, individual flexibility arrangements, employing young workers,

gender pay equity, small business, workplace privacy, managing

underperformance, effective dispute resolution and improving workplace

productivity in bargaining. 

The Fair Work Ombudsman promotes harmonious, productive and co-operative

workplaces. It also monitors compliance with and investigates breaches of

national workplace laws.

NOTE: We are unable to identify individual businesses or provide additional

information about the cases listed.

Media inquiries: 

Craig Bildstien, Director Media & Stakeholder Relations. 0419 818 484.

Ryan Pedler, Senior Adviser Media & Stakeholder Relations. (03) 9954

2561, 0434 365 924.

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