$837k Back-pay For Canberra Workers

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26th October 2009, 10:00am - Views: 888

People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 1 image

People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 2 image

Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 

Media Release

         26 Oct 2009

$837,000 back-pay for Canberra workers after

watchdog intervenes

The Fair Work Ombudsman recovered more than $837,000 for 3817 workers in

the ACT who were underpaid last financial year.

Canberra-based inspectors finalised 769 complaints and recorded 261 breaches of

workplace law in the ACT.

The underpayments were identified through a combination of routine audits,

targeted investigations and complaints from workers.

Significant underpayments were discovered in the transport, wholesale and retail


Common non-compliance issues included underpayment of workers’ minimum

hourly rates and failure to pay full entitlements to workers upon termination of

their employment.

In one case, a manager who left a Canberra transport business was not paid his

accrued annual and long service leave entitlements. 

After Fair Work inspectors contacted the company, the former manager was

promptly reimbursed more than $27,000 owing.

Other Canberra recoveries include:

$25,000 for a clerk at a wholesaler’s who was underpaid minimum shift and

night penalty rates,

$15,968 for a white-collar employee underpaid accrued annual leave

entitlements on termination,

$13,000 each for two workers at a transport business who were underpaid

both the hourly rate and for hours worked,

$12,603 for a marketing manager underpaid the minimum hourly rate and

various other entitlements over seven months,

$8967 for a manufacturing industry worker underpaid accrued annual leave

entitlements on termination,

$7714 for a cleaner underpaid overtime, weekend penalty rates and other

entitlements, and

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People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 3 image

Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 


$5766 for a construction worker who had not been paid two weeks’ wages  in

lieu of notice and accrued annual leave entitlements on termination.

Fair Work Ombudsman Canberra Regional Manager Jeff Beaver 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 Beaver 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 Beaver says employers or employees seeking up-to-date information on wage

rates and conditions should visit www.fwo.gov.au 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, 0419 818 484. Ryan Pedler, 0434 365 924

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