North-west Businesses Back-pay Underpaid Workers

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21st January 2010, 10:00am - Views: 672

People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 2 image

Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 

Media Release

    21 Jan 2010

North-West businesses back-pay workers after

Fair Work Ombudsman inquiries

Two small general stores, a bakery and a tourist park on Tasmania’s north-west

coast have been asked to back-pay some of their staff thousands of dollars after

investigations by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

In one case, a female shop assistant has been reimbursed $10,400 after Fair

Work inspectors discovered the employer had failed to pay the woman the correct

hourly rate, weekend penalty rates or public holiday rates.

In a separate case, a husband-and-wife working at a tourist park have been

back-paid a total of $4300 after lodging a complaint with the Fair Work

Ombudsman after their employment was terminated.

Inspectors found the employer had short-changed the couple by paying a flat rate

of pay which did not include weekend and public holiday penalty rates.

Other recent recoveries include:

$4200 for a 21-year-old employee at a bakery who had been underpaid

her correct hourly rate since she joined the business as a trainee when she

was 17. 

The bakery was sold while inspectors were investigating the case, but after

discussions with the Fair Work Ombudsman, has reimbursed the

outstanding wages.

$3500 for a 19-year-old casual shop assistant who, similarly, had been

underpaid since she started working for the store when she was 16.

The teenager was paid a flat hourly rate which did not take account of

penalty rates, overtime or weekend rates. 

When Fair Work inspectors identified the problem, the employer quickly

rectified the matter and is now paying the staff member her correct



In April last year, the operator of the Caltex petrol station at La Trobe was fined a

total of $241,000 for underpaying six of its workers – the second highest penalty

achieved by the Fair Work Ombudsman for any of its prosecutions.

TKM Investments Pty Ltd was fined $201,300 and company director Grania

Kathleen Loone a further $40,260. The Federal Magistrates Court also ordered

that back-pay of $41,000 outstanding to six workers be repaid.  

… 2

People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 3 image

Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 


Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says the Agency has

decided to visit 1000 small businesses across Tasmania in 2010 to help them to

better understand, comply with and maximise the benefits of Australia’s new

national workplace relations system.

“We are very serious about our job of building knowledge and fairer workplaces

and are strongly focussed on ensuring the community understands its workplace

rights and obligations,” he said.

There will be additional visits in 2011 and 2012. 

Mr Campbell says the Fair Work Ombudsman has been progressively expanding

the range of user-friendly resources on its website to not only assist employers

understand and comply with new laws, but also to operate their workplaces

according to best practice.  

Recent additions include:

The Fair Work Information Statement – translated into 20 languages

An explanation of the new 10 National Employment Standards

Modern Awards, including phasing in pay rates

Workplace discrimination – what is it?

An overview of State referrals for employers new to the national system

Multi-media versions of a number of Best Practice Guides

Templates for small business for engaging new employees, probation

periods and termination of employment.

Mr Campbell says also provides employers with payslip and

record-keeping templates, a self-audit checklist and fact sheets on dozens of

topics including leave, industrial action, public holidays, enterprise bargaining,

gender pay equity and family-friendly workplaces.


He says 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.

As well as Online resources, the Fair Work Ombudsman has more than

200 highly-skilled advisers available to speak with small business people with

questions on its Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 from 8am-6pm weekdays.

Media inquiries: 

Craig Bildstien, Director Media & Stakeholder Relations  0419 818 484 Email:

Ryan Pedler: Mob: 0434 365 924; Email:

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