Underpayment of Wages – Fines

A Sydney based cleaning company was first found to have underpaid its staff more than $18,000 after an audit in 2011. A follow-up audit in 2013 found additional former and current employees had also been underpaid more than $40,000. In one case, the underpayment was $3635 and in three other cases, more than $3000. The company decided to pay a flat rate for all hours worked which was a breach of the relevant Award that they fell under. As part of the process the Fair Work Ombudsman required an apology to all staff and recti
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Employer – Unlawful Deductions

A café in Perth has been required to pay thousands of dollars in compensation after it was found to have been illegally deducting money from the wages of its employees. If you can comprehend this odd situation, on one occasion a female cook had $112 taken from her pay packet after her employer decided the crackling on a pork belly dish was “not crispy enough”. The most concerning fact in this matter was that the Employer believed it was “okay”. HR Central identifies these issues before they become Fair Work compla
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Wages – Compliance and Underpayments

In what is becoming an almost weekly occurrence, another large company is undergoing a self-audit due to issues that have arisen around the payment of wages. A Western Australian chicken outlet will have the wages of all past and present employees reviewed. The aim is to determine if they are being paid under the correct Award, classifications and are receiving the right payments. This all came about because of an audit by fair work inspectors – not because employees made a complaint. We often talk about the inspectors a
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Fair Work Ombudsman – Underpayments

Below is a great example of the possible consequences a business may face if allegations of underpayment of wages or other breaches are lodged against them. In this case the Fair Work Ombudsman took legal proceedings against the former operator of a petrol station alleging two console operators were underpaid a total of almost $50,000. The company allegedly owed the employees amounts of $25,621 and $21,637. These amounts accumulated between 2008 and 2013. It is expected that there will be difficulty in demonstrating compli
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OHS – The Importance of Induction

The criticality of properly inducting employees in all facets of your business has been reinforced in a recent Court case. In the case, the Court ruled that an Employer was not liable for a workplace injury of an employee due to the employee’s failure to comply with the manual handling training they had been provided with. The employee had been shown how to move certain bags via manual handling training. However when actually moving the bags he decided to kick them instead seriously injuring his foot in the process. The
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OHS – Safe Work Place

A recent OHS decision has reinforced the need to act as soon as you become aware of any concerns over safety. This is to prevent any incident or accident occurring by doing whatever is reasonably practicable. In this instance, the company received a number of reports concerning grates becoming dislodged, stating that they were likely to cause an individual to fall through. This showed that the company was fully aware of both the issue and the possible consequences. The company took some action in fixing a portion of t
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Refusal to Work Overtime – Reasonable

The amount of overtime considered reasonable can also be a difficult issue in the workplace. This was the case with Australia Post who disciplined two employees for unsatisfactory performance during the “indoor” portion of their shifts The employees appealed the warning and the Commissioner accepted their evidence that they had both advised depot managers they could work no more than an hour of overtime on November 2, 2012.They had also followed Australia Post’s instructions in returning undelivered mail to their ma
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When it comes to dealing with workers who have injured themselves in the workplace, there are many factors you need to consider while establishing “an adjustment” The first and primary question that must be asked: is the adjustment reasonable? When contemplating this question, a business must consider the following elements: -       what is the benefit to the employee -       what would  be the effect on the employee if no adjustment were made -       what would be the impact on the employer if th
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Underpayment of Wages

Outlined below is another interesting example of the costs of not having your wages compliant with the relevant legislation. In this case an underpaid truck driver in Northern Queensland was back-paid $52,000. The worker, was aged in his 60s and employed at a transport business near Cairns. He was underpaid the minimum hourly rate and travel allowance entitlements between January 2010 and September 2013. The statement from the Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James read as follows” underpayment occurred because of a lack of a
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Underpayments of Wages – Director Fined

This case highlights the repercussions that can be felt by a company director following a Fair Work investigation. The operators of the Mildura Battery Company Pty Ltd failed to apologise to an employee they had underpaid for six years and were fined almost $50,000. Following legal action by the Fair Work Ombudsman the company, which operates a wholesale battery business, has been penalised $39,270. In addition to that, company director Michael John Marquick was fined a further $7854. The company was also ordered to fully
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