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Confusion or neglect – $1.2million underpaid

Confusion or neglect – $1.2million underpaid (Last Updated On: February 15, 2019)

The Fair Work Ombudsman has discovered that 2700 hospitality workers have been underpaid $1.2 million, with 20% relating to weekend penalty rates. Looking deeper, this implies that just 42% of businesses have complied with their obligations to employees neglecting to cover penalties, loadings and overtime.

Natalie James from Fair Work Ombudsman says, ‘the hospitality sector was targeted for attention over three years from 2012-15 in response to more than 4500 requests for assistance from employees in 2010-11, a high volume of calls to the Fair Work Infoline and a number of litigations against hospitality businesses for breaches of workplace laws’.

Each state in Australia is effected by this claim, with the breakdown highlighted below.

  • VIC: $386,389 for 698 employees
  • QLD: $355,980 for 846 employees
  • NSW: $282,996 for 788 employees
  • SA: $63,967 for 193 employees
  • WA: $51,650 for 62 employees
  • TAS: $29,795 for 77 employees
  • NT: $25,767 for 45 employees
  • ACT: $18,759 for 43 employees

This raises an interesting questions – are the Modern Awards too complex and confusing to implement correctly?

Restaurant and Catering Australia Chief Executive John Hart claims, “a study commissioned by the Fair Work Commission found that small businesses find awards convoluted, complex, ambiguous and difficult to use, leading them to resort to ‘best guess solutions’ or avoid them altogether”.

Continued campaigning across the industry to cut penalty rates is in full swing with the deadline for employers to make their final submission only days away. Based on these findings, the result will be interesting.

Are you finding Modern Awards a minefield? Don’t play the guessing game. As Australia’s largest workplace consultancy for employers, we can ensure you are on the right track. Call us today on 1300 651 415

Source: Financial Review and Hospitality Magazine

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