Fair Work Ombudsman protects snowfield workers
THE Fair Work Ombudsman will be sending a team of 10 inspectors back to the snowfields of Victoria and NSW to check that seasonal workers are receiving correct wages.
The move follows a finding last year that there had been substantial underpayment of staff.
The agency required 39 businesses to repay more than $354,000 to more than 410 employees found to have been short changed last year.
The largest repayment was $34,242 for 30 employees at a single business.
While employers cooperated and repaid all outstanding entitlements, the agency is hoping that last year’s misunderstanding of the law has not been repeated.
“The main reason for the underpayments was a widespread misunderstanding of award coverage,” explained Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James.
“Most employees were applying the provisions of the Alpine Resorts Award, when in fact they should have been applying the General Retail Industry Award, the Fast Food Industry Award, the Hospitality Industry (general) Award or the Restraurant Industry Award,” Ms James explained.
The Alpine Resorts Award 2010 only applies to employers whose business activity involved the operation of ski lifts.
This year, the inspectors will re-visit resorts and add new ones to their list.
Their aim is to ensure that employers are paying staff correctly, maintaining appropriate records and providing staff with pay slips.