Qld Clubs Campaign Recovers $350,000 Back-pay For 2000 Workers

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29th November 2009, 12:00pm - Views: 760





People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 1 image

People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 2 image

Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 





Media Release





    29 Nov 2009


Queensland clubs campaign recovers $350,000

back-pay for 2000 workers 


Almost 2000 Queenslanders working in clubs in central and northern parts of the

State have been underpaid a total of $350,000 over the past two years.


Latest investigations by the federal Fair Work Ombudsman have recouped

another $206,000 for 1100 employees of 59 clubs.


The regulator targeted clubs for a second round of random audits after inspectors

last year found less than a third were complying with workplace laws.


The 2008 campaign recovered $141,000 from 52 clubs which had underpaid 890

of their staff. 


Some of those underpaying last year were visited a second time, and inspectors

discovered three – one in the Cairns region and two in the Rockhampton region -

had again short-changed 13 of their staff more than $8500.


Eighty-two sports, RSL and community clubs in the Cairns, Townsville,

Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Mackay and South-West regions

have been scrutinised by Fair Work inspectors over the past eight months. 


Fair Work Ombudsman Executive-Director Michael Campbell says the result of the

latest audit is disturbing, with 59 of the 80 clubs audited (74 per cent) non-

compliant – and he would not rule out legal action against repeat offenders. 


Mr Campbell says the outcome is a wake-up call to employers to double-check

they are meeting their legal obligations to their workforce.


“And we can help with that. We have 200 highly-skilled advisers ready to answer

employer’s questions if they pick up the phone and call our national Infoline on 13

13 94,” he said.


“Alternatively, we have a range of user-friendly resources available on our

website – www.fairwork.gov.au – including Best Practice Guides, fact sheets and

templates.” 


Mr Campbell says most clubs were paying incorrect wage rates and not paying

correct overtime, weekend and public holiday penalty rates.


The highest underpayments were unearthed at a club in the Townsville region

which had underpaid its staff $40,000.


The largest amount recovered for a single employee was $20,000 in central

inland Queensland.


“We have a flexible, fair approach and our preference is always to work with

employers to educate them and help them voluntarily rectify any non-compliance

issues we identify,” Mr Campbell said.

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People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 3 image






Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 



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“Fortunately in this latest campaign, the clubs have co-operated and all

outstanding entitlements have been voluntarily reimbursed to employees.


“Indeed, after we wrote to clubs signalling our intention to conduct this campaign,

13 of them did their own self-assessments and had back-paid $54,000 to their

staff without having to be asked.”


However, Mr Campbell issued a cautionary reminder that employers who failed to

take their responsibilities seriously could face penalties up to $33,000 per breach

if the matter went to court.


Recoveries for workers from the latest campaign are:



Cairns region - $13,000 for 92 workers



Rockhampton region - $62,000 for 393 workers



Townsville region - $54,000 for 105 workers



Bundaberg/Gladstone region - $9500 for 55 workers



Mackay region - $54,000 for 496 workers, and



South-West region - $12,000 for 57 workers.


Inspectors are continuing investigations at two clubs.


Mr Campbell says the Fair Work Ombudsman can help workers and employers

alike to understand their respective rights and obligations under the new National

Employment Standards and Modern Awards which come into effect on January 1

next year. 


Those seeking assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94

between 8am and 6pm weekdays. For translations call 13 14 50.

 

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

workplaces. It also monitors compliance and investigates breaches of national

workplace laws.



Media inquiries: 


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

craig.bildstien@fwo.gov.au


Ryan Pedler, Senior Adviser, 0434 365 924. ryan.pedler@fwo.gov.au






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