Underpaid staff win back pay

WORKERS in the border region have received $41,000 in back pay after intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The largest recovery was $25,000 for two employees at a transport business near Albury.

They had been underpaid wages and allowances for two years from 2010.

The acting Fair Work Ombudsman, Michael Campbell, said the underpayments happened because the employer was not aware of the minimum wages and allowances that applied under the applicable award.

“It is important that employers ensure they understand their obligations in regards to wages and entitlements because even a small error in base rates, if left unchecked for a long period, can lead to a significant underpayment,” Mr Campbell said.

The Fair Work Ombudsman also looked at a Mulwala worker’s case.

The worker received a total of $6400 for underpaid wages, weekend and public holiday penalty rates over a 12-month period between last year and this year.

Mr Campbell said the businesses involved in the underpayments co-operated with Fair Work inspectors.

It resulted in the employees being reimbursed all money owed without the need for further action against the employer.

“We adopt a flexible, fair approach and our aim is to work with employers to educate them and help them voluntarily rectify any issues we identify,” Mr Campbell said.

“These businesses have now put processes in place to ensure the errors will not happen again.”

He said the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website — fairwork.gov.au — contains tools and resources.

These include PayCheck Plus and an Award Finder, to help employers determine the correct pay and allowances for workers.

More than 224,000 employees and employers across NSW and the ACT sought advice from the Fair Work information line last financial year.

Workers or employers seeking support over their wages and conditions can visit the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.