Back-pay For Kimberley And Pilbara Workers

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17th December 2009, 11:00am - Views: 597

People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 2 image

Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 

Media Release

         17 Dec 2009

Kimberley and Pilbara workers get back-pay

after Fair Work Ombudsman intervenes

Two salespeople for a Broome company have been reimbursed more than

$11,000 after an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman found they were


The two workers lodged complaints with the Fair Work Ombudsman when they

were made redundant but did not get the severance pay they were entitled to.

After Fair Work inspectors contacted their employer, the salespeople were

promptly back-paid the $6900 and $4590 they were each owed without the need

for further action against the employer.

In an unrelated case, a mining industry worker in Karratha was back-paid $8600

after an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman found he had been unlawfully

stood down without pay as a disciplinary measure.

The worker was promptly reimbursed after Fair Work inspectors educated his

employer on its payment obligations under workplace laws.

The recoveries are among a number of cases finalised recently on behalf of

workers in the Pilbara and Kimberley.

Inspectors discovered the underpayments through a combination of routine audits

and investigations into complaints from workers.

Significant underpayments were recovered in the retail and mining industries.

Common non-compliance issues inspectors have encountered in the Pilbara and

Kimberley include underpayment of workers’ minimum hourly rates and failure

to pay full entitlements to workers upon termination of their employment.

Other recoveries include:

$12,280 for a maintenance worker near Karratha underpaid redundancy


$8200 for a mining industry worker in Newman underpaid pay in lieu of

notice and accrued annual leave entitlements on termination,

$6350 for two hospitality workers south of Karratha underpaid overtime


$5630 for a mine-site worker east of Port Hedland who had not been paid

for some hours worked, and

… 2

People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 3 image

Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 


$5160 for a retail worker north-east of Broome underpaid the minimum

hourly rate.

Fair Work Ombudsman WA Director Leigh Quealy says most of the

underpayments resulted from a lack of understanding by employers of their legal

obligations, including applicable Awards and pay-scales.

“That’s why the Fair Work Ombudsman places such a strong focus on educating

employers and assisting them to understand and comply with workplace laws,” he


Mr Quealy says in most cases, the Fair Work Ombudsman does not prosecute

employers for inadvertent breaches of workplace laws.

“However, employers need to be aware that they can face fines of up $33,000 per

breach if we do take matters to court,” he said.

Mr Quealy says employers or employees seeking up-to-date information on wage

rates and conditions should visit or contact the Fair Work

Infoline on 13 13 94. Translations are available by calling 13 14 50.

“The Fair Work Ombudsman’s website also includes information and templates to

help employers better manage employment records and payslips,” he said.

“Employers need to be aware that under Commonwealth workplace laws they

must keep accurate time, wages, annual leave and other employment records

and issue sufficiently detailed payslips.”

Eleven Best Practice Guides have been developed by the Fair Work Ombudsman

to assist employers make better use of the provisions of the Fair Work Act and

better understand other aspects of workplace laws.

The new guides are on the website and cover work and family, consultation and

co-operation, individual flexibility arrangements, employing young workers,

gender pay equity, small business, workplace privacy, managing

underperformance, effective dispute resolution and improving workplace

productivity in bargaining. 

The Fair Work Ombudsman promotes harmonious, productive and co-operative

workplaces. It also monitors compliance and investigates breaches of national

workplace laws.

NOTE: We are unable to identify individual businesses or provide additional

information about the cases listed.

Media inquiries:

Craig Bildstien, Director Media & Stakeholder Relations. 0419 818 484.

Ryan Pedler, Senior Adviser Media & Stakeholder Relations. (03) 9954

2561, 0434 365 924.

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