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UnderpaymentsNovember 4, 2014
An aged care facility, Lifestyle SA Pty Ltd, has underpaid staff for over five years and consequently paid substantial penalties. The Federal Court found that Lifestyle SA, who employed workers at 11 facilities, was accountable for underpayments totalling $2.5 million from 2006 to 2011.
This time period of underpayments exceeded two Modern Award changes. When the 2010 Aged Care Award was introduced the employers should have abided by these changes in wage entitlements and amended their practices accordingly. However they failed to pay minimum wages, annual leave loading, overtime, shift, weekend and public holiday penalties.
Lifestyle SA’s most significant breach in employment entitlements was contravening in the maximum hours of worked throughout the period. The facility had page monitors who only worked on the weekends and were paid a $50 rate for an 8 or 16 hour shift disregarding other entitlements. Other staff who worked during the week in paid roles, also picked up page monitor shifts during weeknights. They were not paid but provided accommodation onsite and time off from their day job to respond to a pages if they were apparent during the night. The courts found that employers were indeed not paying their staff correctly.
The courts found that Lifestyle SA also gained ‘significant competitive advantage’ over other facilities because of the underpayments. The business was able to offer superior services with 24/7 staff to care for residents at lower costs. A total of 46 workers were underpaid, the largest compensation paid to one employee was $264,000.
Lifestyle SA failed to follow their employment obligations and did not give their staff their correct entitlements. If you would like to ensure that you are paying your staff correctly and under the correct modern award call Employsure today on 1300 651 415. We can help you to account for all of your staff members and their wages. We can decipher the often hard task for many small to medium companies in Australia, and ensure you are getting it right.
*Information sourced via Workplace Express website.