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Tour operator needs a tour of the Fair Work Act

UnderpaymentsDecember 19, 2014

Tour operator needs a tour of the Fair Work Act (Last Updated On: December 19, 2014)

A Cairns tour operator (the employer) has been accused of underpaying five overseas backpackers.

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has commenced legal action against the employer and his company, which trades as Trek North Tours.

It is alleged that the backpackers, aged between 23 and 32, were underpaid nearly $30,000 when they worked for Trek North Tours between August 2013 and April 2014.

The five were in Australia on 417 working holiday visas from Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Italy and Taiwan.

After the employees lodged complaints with the Fair Work Ombudsman earlier this year, inspectors found they had been paid flat hourly rates of between $10 and $16.37 an hour. In some cases, they were not paid anything at all for work performed.

Under the General Retail Industry Award, they should have been paid at least $17.98 for normal hours and up to $39.56 an hour for shifts that attracted penalty rates.

The employer, when approached by the FWO, refused to cooperate with them, telling inspectors “you will not get a cent” and claimed he never employed the allegedly underpaid workers.

Ms James from the FWO said they were left with no option but to commence legal action to recover the money owing to these workers.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking a Court Order for the workers to be back-paid as well as penalties.

The employer faces maximum penalties of up to $5100 per contravention and his company faces maximum penalties of up to $25,500 per contravention.

Unsure about your pay rates for your employees? Call us on 1300 651 415 or fill in the form below.

*Information sourced via the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

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