Workplace Regulator Recoups $9500 Backpay For Townsville Tradesman

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22nd December 2009, 11:00am - Views: 606

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Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 

Media Release

         22 Dec 2009

Workplace regulator recoups $9500 back-pay

for Townsville tradesman 

A Townsville tradesman has been reimbursed $9500 after an investigation by

the Fair Work Ombudsman found he was underpaid.

The tradesman lodged a complaint when he was made redundant but was not

paid his full severance pay and accrued annual leave entitlements.

The employer had unlawfully made deductions from the tradesman’s annual leave

balances for days when it was too wet to work.   

After inspectors advised the company of its obligations, the tradesman was

promptly paid without the need for further action.

The recovery is among a number of cases finalised recently on behalf of

Townsville workers.

Inspectors discovered the underpayments through a combination of routine audits

and investigations into complaints from workers.

Common non-compliance issues inspectors have encountered in Townsville

include underpayment of workers’ minimum hourly rates and failure to pay full

entitlements to workers upon termination of their employment.

Other Townsville recoveries include:

$6470 for a tradesman underpaid redundancy entitlements,

$3650 for a labourer underpaid the minimum hourly rate,

$1460 for a young hospitality industry worker who had not been paid two-

weeks wages,

$500 for a young food outlet worker underpaid the minimum hourly rate, and

$420 for four young workers at a food outlet underpaid the minimum hourly


Fair Work Ombudsman Queensland Director Julie Wade says most of the

underpayments were the result of a lack of understanding by employers of their

legal obligations.

“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,”

she said.

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People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 3 image

Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 


Ms Wade says in most cases, the Fair Work Ombudsman does not prosecute

employers for inadvertent breaches of workplace laws.

“We have a flexible, fair approach and our preference is always to work with

employers to educate them and help them voluntarily rectify any non-compliance

issues we identify,” she said.

“However, employers must be aware that it is their responsibility to ensure they

pay staff correctly.”

Ms Wade says the Fair Work Ombudsman can help employers and workers to

understand their rights and obligations under new National Employment

Standards and Modern Awards, which take effect on January 1, 2010.

“The new workplace law landscape provides a comprehensive safety net of

minimum employment conditions that underpin the whole system,” she said.

“The Fair Work Ombudsman has a range of user-friendly resources that can help

employers and workers comply with workplace laws and operate their workplace

according to best practice.”

Employers or employees seeking advice or assistance should contact the Fair

Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit For translations call 13 14


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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