Busi­nesses rort­ing pay still at it on sec­ond au­dit

The Australian - - THE NATION - EWIN HANNAN

Al­most 40 per cent of busi­nesses caught break­ing work­place laws, in­clud­ing un­der­pay­ing em­ploy­ees, were still do­ing it when they were re-au­dited by the Fair Work Om­buds­man.

A new na­tional au­dit re­leased by the agency yes­ter­day re­veals only two of the 184 busi­nesses still breach­ing the Fair Work Act were pros­e­cuted.

When the om­buds­man reau­dited 479 busi­ness that had pre­vi­ously bro­ken work­place laws, 38 per cent were still not meet­ing their le­gal obli­ga­tions.

Of the busi­nesses that re­mained non-com­pli­ant, the agency re­cov­ered $244,246 from 98 em­ploy­ers for 347 work­ers.

It is­sued 82 per cent with in­fringe­ment no­tices, com­pli­ance no­tices and for­mal cau­tions.

It en­tered into a com­pli­ance part­ner­ship with Chemist Ware­house af­ter 5976 work­ers were un­der­paid $3.56 mil­lion, and struck an en­force­able un­der­tak­ing with Mel­bourne fast-food busi­ness Xin Long fol­low­ing un­der­pay­ments and record­keep­ing breaches.

Two Ade­laide nail sa­lons were taken to court for se­ri­ous breaches, re­sult­ing in $130,000 in penal­ties against House of Pol­ish and a $10,560 penalty against the for­mer owner of Citi Nails.

Fair Work Om­buds­man San­dra Parker said 62 per cent of re-au­dited busi­nesses were now com­ply­ing, re­flect­ing the “ef­fec­tive­ness of the agency’s com­pli­ance and ed­u­ca­tion ac­tiv­i­ties”.

“A ma­jor­ity of em­ploy­ers op­er­at­ing in in­dus­tries sus­cep­ti­ble to higher lev­els of non­com­pli­ance have been re­spon­sive to FWO in­ter­ven­tion strate­gies,’’ the agency’s re­port says.

The ACTU said the re­port “barely scratches the sur­face of wage theft”.

Unions high­lighted how one pros­e­cu­tion started six years af­ter the agency first be­came aware of the em­ployer’s be­hav­iour, in 2012.

ACTU sec­re­tary Sally McManus said there were about 200 agency in­spec­tors charged with en­forc­ing work­place laws for more than 12 mil­lion work­ers.

She said: “Putting worker reps back on the wage theft beat would sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease the num­ber of peo­ple stop­ping wage theft at no cost to the tax­payer.”

Op­po­si­tion work­place re­la­tions spokesman Bren­dan O’Con­nor said the re­port “ex­poses the ex­tent of the fail­ure of the Ab­bott-Turn­bull-Mor­ri­son govern­ment to deal with sys­temic is­sues of un­der­pay­ment of work­ers and other breaches”.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.