Three Victorian businesses have been put on notice after inadvertently finding themselves on the wrong side of the law on worker entitlements.
In a familiar scenario for the Fair Work Ombudsman, the three businesses came to its attention for the first time due to unintentional oversights and misunderstandings in relation to employee wages.
A full-time financial adviser was reimbursed $14,246 after she had been paid on a commission-only basis, contrary to the $21.77 hourly minimum to which she was entitled under the relevant award.
Meanwhile, a warehouse storeperson was repaid $5,700 after being paid a flat hourly rate of $18 over an eight-month period — well short of the $23.16 per hour legal minimum.
And a full-time retailer worker was backpaid to the tune of $9,117 for outstanding wages and annual leave entitlements which were due to be paid on termination of employment. The employer had intended to use the worker’s accrued time off in lieu to form part of the termination notice period. However, this is not an accepted practice under employment provisions.
“This was the first time these businesses had come to our attention, and we determined that lengthy court proceedings were not necessary in these circumstances,” Ombudsman Natalie James said.
“However, we revisit non-compliant businesses, and these employers risk serious enforcement action in future if we find they haven’t changed their ways.”
Employers are urged to visit the Fair Work website or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for free advice on understanding their obligations so as to ensure that entitlements are correctly paid from the outset and avoid costly lump-sum payments to reimburse underpaid workers.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.