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Seasonal WorkersNovember 12, 2014
The weeks are getting warmer and the season of picking fruit is here. The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) will be on the lookout for employers hiring for the seasonal pick. This week in particular, the FWO investigated farms in the Yarra Valley in Victoria’s strawberry region.
The investigations found that two employers had underpaid 22 employees, and four others had disobeyed record keeping and payslip requirements. It is alarm bells for other employers of agricultural businesses to seek timely advice and help if they are unsure of their employment obligations or if they need to review their current employment policies and procedures. By being efficient and proactive employers can avoid sour fines and back payments.
The FWO found that many of the strawberry growers in the Yarra Valley ‘hired contractors to provide pickers and other seasonal workers, rather than employing them directly’. This may cause some confusion to wages and the correct employment practices. Employers have had the support of the Victorian Strawberry Industry Development Committee who discuss the Horticulture Award 2010, but many of them are still getting it wrong.
Next, the FWO will endeavour on a ‘Harvest Trail’ visiting blueberry farms on the NSW Mid-North Coast to conduct further auditing.
If you would like ensure that your employment practices are compliant with federal workplace laws before the season is in full bloom call Employsure on 1300 651 415 or fill in the form below. We provide your business with the reassurance that your employment practices are compliant so that you avoid fines and back payments this picking season.
*Information sourced via the Fair Work Ombudsman.