$105K IN LOST WAGES FOUND ON GOLD COAST

$105K IN LOST WAGES FOUND ON GOLD COAST

THE Federal Government’s crackdown on industrial relations breaches has resulted in the recovery of $105,500 for Gold Coast employees.

The single biggest case involved an undisclosed Gold Coast travel agency that was ordered to pay two of its workers a total of $40,800 in unpaid wages.

The workers lodged a complaint with the watchdog after being paid between $6.95 and $15 an hour over a four-year period, well below the minimum hourly rate for the industryThe employees were back-paid $20,600 and $20,200 respectively.

In Southport, a manager has been awarded $19,300 in unpaid commission while another company was ordered to reimburse a driver $16,400 after he was underpaid the minimum hourly rate and penalty rates.

Inspectors discovered the underpayments through a combination of routine audits and investigations into complaints from workers.

Fair Work Ombudsman executive director Michael Campbell, says given all companies fully co-operated with investigators and the outcomes, no further action will be taken.

“We place a strong focus on educating and assisting employers to understand and comply with workplace laws,” says Campbell, who due to privacy laws, could not name the companies at fault.

“Our preference is always to work with employers to educate them and help them voluntary rectify any non-compliance issues.”

The most common non-compliance issues were underpayment of minimum hourly rates, penalty rates and failure to pay full entitlements to workers upon termination.

Other outcomes include:

- $8400 for a team leader on the Gold Coast underpaid annual leave and who had unauthorised deductions from entitlements.
- $8100 for a Yatala manager underpaid wages and annual leave.
- $7500 for a Southport security worker underpaid long service leave entitlements, and;
- $5000 for a Coolangatta health industry worker underpaid the minimum hourly rate and overtime allowances.

Around 10,000 Queensland companies underwent audits from the Fair Work Ombudsman last year as part of a three-year nation-wide roll-out of 50,000 inspections.

In FY10, the Fair Work Ombudsman recovered $4.25 million for 3749 Queensland workers who were underpaid.

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