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Cleaning companies busted for underpaying stadium cleaners

Adrian Flores
Adrian Flores
09 October 2020 1 minute readShare
Cleaning companies busted for underpaying stadium cleaners

Seven businesses have had to pay 270 employees their unpaid wages following concerns that cleaning companies in the stadiums sector may not have been compliant with workplace laws as well as engaged in possible sham contracting.

Inspectors from the office of the Fair Work Ombudsman investigated nine cleaning companies following surprise site visits to Sydney’s ANZ Stadium, Perth’s Optus Stadium, the Adelaide Oval, Brisbane’s Gabba, Melbourne’s AAMI Park and Canberra’s GIO Stadium in September and October last year.

It recovered $25,292 in unpaid wages for 270 employees, including recoveries of $20,961 for 139 workers from three businesses contracted to clean ANZ Stadium.

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There were also recoveries of $3,473 for 78 workers from one cleaning business at the Adelaide Oval, with the same cleaning business operating at the Gabba back-paying $743 for 51 workers, as well as $114 recovered for two cleaners from one business at GIO Stadium.

Records reviewed showed no breaches at AAMI Park.

 

Inspectors interviewed cleaners and supervisors about the work that cleaners were required to do, photographed venues to better understand the employment conditions, and inspected records.

The FWO found that seven of the nine cleaning companies (78 per cent) were non-compliant with workplace laws.

Seven companies were found to have underpaid their employees and three had breached payslip obligations, such as failures to correctly pay the minimum hourly rate, casual loading and penalty rates for weekend, public holiday and overtime hours.

While the stadium operators were not found to be involved in contraventions of workplace laws, inspectors found layers of sub-contracting operating without appropriate checks and balances to ensure workplace relations compliance.

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Inspectors also found poor record-keeping practices at the bottom of sub-contracting supply chains. No sham contracting or misclassification of employment was found.

In response to the breaches, inspectors issued five compliance notices requiring employers to rectify failings. There were also two infringement notices issued for payslip breaches (total fines of $4,200) as well as two contravention letters and two formal cautions.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator has engaged with stadium operators and recommended governance improvements, including the need to review existing contracts.

“The FWO’s investigations identified opportunities for stadium operators, as heads of supply chains, to increase their level of involvement in how cleaning contractors operated,” Ms Parker said.

“We expect all cleaning employers to comply with workplace laws. The heads of all supply chains should be aware that they can be held responsible if they are found to be involved in any breaches by their contractors.”

Cleaning companies busted for underpaying stadium cleaners
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Adrian Flores
Adrian Flores

Adrian Flores is the deputy editor of MyBusiness. Before that, he was the deputy editor for SMSF Adviser as well as features editor for ifa (Independent Financial Adviser), InvestorDaily, Risk Adviser, Fintech Business and Adviser Innovation.

You can email Adrian at [email protected].

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