Watchdog Recovers Back-pay For Workers In Melbourne's Western Suburbs

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19th November 2009, 11:00am - Views: 976

People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 1 image

People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 2 image

Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 

Media Release

         19 Nov 2009

Watchdog recovers back-pay for workers in

Melbourne’s Western suburbs 

A trades assistant at Hoppers Crossing has been back-paid almost $20,000

after complaining to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Inspectors examining his case found the man had been underpaid his minimum

hourly rate and annual leave entitlements.

Fair Work inspectors raised the issue with the man’s employer, who voluntarily

reimbursed the worker $18,800.

In separate cases at Hoppers Crossing, a receptionist has also been reimbursed

$9530 after the Fair Work Ombudsman found she had been underpaid weekend

and evening penalty rates and a transport industry worker has received $8000

after being underpaid the minimum rate.

The complaints are among the cases finalised recently on behalf of workers in

Melbourne’s Western suburbs.

Inspectors discovered the underpayments through a combination of routine audits

and investigations into complaints from workers.

Significant underpayments were unearthed in the transport industry and various

trades industries.

They include:

$6460 for a transport industry worker in West Melbourne underpaid the

minimum hourly rate,

$7690 for a Derrimut book-keeper underpaid annual leave and redundancy


$13,480 for a transport industry worker in Werribee underpaid minimum

rates and allowances,

$11,720 for a Deer Park labourer underpaid the minimum hourly rate,

weekend penalty rates and overtime,

$9470 for a technician at West Footscray underpaid the minimum hourly


$7920 for a Werribee transport industry worker underpaid the minimum

hourly rate,

$5110 for a Deer Park transport industry worker underpaid the minimum

hourly rate, and

$5720 for a West Melbourne tradesperson underpaid annual leave

entitlements, pay in lieu of notice and for time worked.

… 2

People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 3 image

Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 


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.

“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 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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