Multiple businesses involved with providing security at last year’s Commonwealth Games have been found to have underpaid security guards for their work at the event, and delayed payments that were made.
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) conducted an audit of security providers for the event which it said unearthed more than $24,000 in unpaid wages to the security guards.
It said in a statement that of the nine employers investigated — including four principal providers and a number of sub-contractors — none were fully compliant with workplace rules.
Record keeping fails delay payments
Ombudsman Sandra Parker said there was also a “consistent” problem with delays in payments being made to employees.
“The consistent issue we discovered was guards not being paid until well after they had completed their shifts. In some instances, guards had to wait months to get paid properly,” she said.
“This was a breach of employers’ obligations under the Fair Work Act to pay their employees on time.”
According to Ms Parker, the delays were the result of “shortcoming in the electronic record keeping system used to record work hours”.
A total of 10 guards were also underpaid by two security providers, the FWO said, by not properly paying penalty rates.
These underpayments amounted to more than $24,000, it said.
In addition to paying the outstanding amounts to their employees, the businesses were hit with four infringement notices, with penalties amounting to $12,600.
All nine businesses were issued with contravention letters demanding they rectify the issues raised, and one received a formal caution.
“Large-scale events can provide challenges for some businesses to ensure they are properly meeting their lawful workplace obligations. It’s vital they recognise and plan around this complexity to ensure their staff are paid in full and on time,” Ms Parker said.
“Ensuring workers in labour supply chains get their correct pay and entitlements is a priority area for the FWO, and businesses can expect more compliance and enforcement action in this area.”
The security industry has previously been identified for issues around non-compliance with workplace laws.
Last year, the owners of a separate security provider was handed one of the largest ever personal fines in a Fair Work case for wage underpayments and an unlawful termination.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.