It is important employers understand their federal obligations with new employees and the probationary period. Generally, when a new...
UnderpaymentsSeptember 5, 2016
Fair Work inspector audits of 565 take-away food businesses conducted during a national campaign in early 2016, found that 223 had short-changed 929 employees a total of $582,410, with underpayment of minimum wages being the most common wage error.
In Newcastle, Fair Work inspectors audited two fish and chip stores and found 21 employees had been paid a flat rate of $18 for all hours worked even after a Letter of Caution had previously been issued.
This case was brought to the attention of the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) following complaints lodged by the employees. The employees were underpaid a total of $38,344 between August 2014 and September 2015, with nine at Charlestown underpaid more than $21,000 and another 12 at Marketown underpaid almost $17,000.
Under the Fast Food Industry Award, they should have been paid up to $23.74 for ordinary hours, $28.49 on Saturdays, $33.24 on Sundays and $52.23 on public holidays. A clothing allowance, pay-in-lieu entitlements, leave pay and overtime penalty rates were also underpaid and pay-slip requirements were not met.
Since the investigation, the owners are cooperating with the FWO under Enforceable Undertakings (EU) to pay back the workers and upgrade systems and processes to ensure future compliance with workplace laws. An Enforceable Undertaking is a written agreement between the FWO and an employer who has not followed Australian workplace law. As an alternative to resolving workplace breaches in the Fair Work Commission courts, EUs are often used to resolve workplace problems and prevent them from occurring again.
The prevalence of cases like these highlight the need for employers to ensure they are aware of the minimum lawful pay rates their employees are entitled to, including penalty rates, and allowances as outlined by the relevant agreement.
Employsure is Australia’s leading workplace relations specialist. Our team of specialists can take the hassle out of understanding minimum wages and other entitlements for your industry. We ensure you are aware of your obligations under the Fair Work Act and remain up to date on any legislative changes that will impact your business. Contact us today on 1300 651 415.