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$500,000 in back pay is not chicken feed

UnderpaymentsOctober 27, 2015

$500,000 in back pay is not chicken feed (Last Updated On: October 27, 2015)

Poultry producer Baiada Group, has agreed to back pay almost $500,000 to current and former workers who were found to have been underpaid by the company’s subcontractors since the start of the year.

The company behind Steggles and Lilydale chicken brands has agreed to the back pay following a Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) investigation earlier this year. The FWO investigation found that Baiada Poultry was guilty of unlawful practices and exploitation of it workers, many of whom were on 417 visas. The workers were being underpaid by Baiada subcontractors and forced to work long hours at several processing sites across NSW. Read Employsure’s related blog post here.

Baiada Group has now signed a three-year Proactive Compliance Deed, as well as agreeing to back pay almost half a million dollars to the workers. A Proactive Compliance Deed is a group of documents which are tailored to a company outlining the steps the business and the FWO are going to undertake to ensure compliance.

FWO Natalie James said “Over the life of the deed, Baiada has agreed to assume responsibility for the underpayment of workers engaged in its supply chain through contract labour arrangements, even though it is not their direct employer.”

Baiada Managing Director, Simon Camilleri said the company is committed to implementing the compliance deed, “We will closely monitor the effectiveness of these measures and will act to terminate agreements with contractors who do not comply.”

Under the Fair Work Act, an employer can be held responsible for a contravention of the Act by others in the supply chain, including contractors. Baiada is not the first company to be blindsided by underpayments made by its subcontractors, yet they are the ones who have had to ‘foot the bill’ so to speak.

The FWO takes exploitation of overseas workers extremely seriously and the repercussions, as seen above, can be incredibly costly to a business. If you have any queries surrounding the entitlements of working-holiday visa holders, please contact Employsure on 1300 651 415.

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