It is starting to sound a lot like Groundhog Day with the Fair Work Ombudsman yet again intervening; this time to assist two Sydney workers who were reportedly paid as little as $10 an hour for administrative and clerical work.
In the latest example of blatant non-compliance, an 18 year old receptionist and her colleague, a 39 year old administrative assistant were both underpaid an astounding $8,100 and $6,400 respectively after the Ombudsman found that they were in fact entitled to more than $17 per hour.
Employee underpayments are being specifically targeted by the Ombudsman and it is clear that no business is safe. Off the back of a busy 2015, with a reported $22.3 million being recovered for 11,613 underpaid workers last financial year, the ombudsman has had a busy start to 2016 recovering thousands of dollars in the past few months alone.
Examples of this aggressive compliance strategy includes $17,000 reportedly recovered for an administrative employee who was not paid his redundancy entitlements, $7,400 for an IT worker who was not paid accrued annual leave or long service leave entitlements and $6,600 of overtime for six deckhands working for a harbour cruise company, just to name a few.
What are your employer obligations?
Australia’s workplace relations system is complex and it’s not just dodgy bosses who may be caught out underpaying staff. As a business owner the buck stops with you. You must ensure that you understand your obligations with regards to your employees pay and entitlements. Unfortunately for small business owners these are often a complex mix of statutory and Award-based entitlements such as minimum hourly rates, penalty rates, allowances and loadings just to name a few.
Did you know that the minimum wage rates are reviewed annually with an increase of 2-3% typically awarded? You must ensure that ensure that you keep up-to-date with any changes to your workplace obligations as any increase in wages is payable from the first full pay period in July 2016.
For more information on the recommendations and what this means for you, clients should contact the HR Assured team. If you’d like more information about the benefits of becoming an HR Assured client contact us today for an informal chat.