If you’re not paying your staff correctly, or are not keeping accurate records, you must read on.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has sent a clear message to employers across Australia after it fined a company in Melbourne for underpayments of staff, failure to keep records and pay slip breaches.
The Ombudsman ordered the operator of several retail stores across Melbourne to pay $200,000 in penalties and ordered the two owners personally to pay $30,000 and $13,000 respectively.
Between 2012 and 2014, the company underpaid workers $132,956 through the use of varying flat rates of pay between $10 and $18.52 per hour. For two of the employees, it was found there was an ‘off the books’ and ‘on the books’ payment system for certain hours or periods of their employment.
One of the employees was underpaid for all the 130 hours per fortnight he worked on average, including being paid just $10 per hour in cash for all hours after the first 76. The Court also found that the employer had required this particular worker to do unreasonable hours due to extensive hours worked on a weekly basis. A second employee, aged 16 when she commenced employment, was paid just $10 per hour for all hours worked.
Fair Work Ombudsman, Sandra Parker, said the significant penalties send a strong message to all employers that unlawfully low flat rates were unacceptable would be detected.
“We have no tolerance for employers who think they can choose to pay workers a flat rate of pay that undercuts a worker’s minimum entitlements, or who try to hide it with unlawful ‘off the books’ practices”, Ms Parker said.
“Accurate and timely record keeping is a fundamental obligation of any employer and whenever we find false records, we will consider court action, with increased penalties now available.”
If you have any concerns about your record keeping in relation to staff payments and entitlements, do not hesitate to contact the MTA’s Workplace Relations team by clicking here.