EMPLOYMENT watchdog Fair Work Australia has revealed that four south-west people have been back-paid thousands in missing earnings.
More than $58,000 in “overlooked” earnings was detected by the organisation’s ombudsman, with some employers agreeing to pay out the alleged shortfall when approached by the government body.
Among the employees successful in reclaiming cash owed to them include a middle-aged farm manager, a Warrnambool labourer, a Camperdown delivery driver and a Warrnambool cleaner.
Out of the four, the largest recovery was a $30,700 cash package for a farm manager at a rural property in an undisclosed locale near Warrnambool.
The male employee in his 50s was employed for more than a decade between 1999 and 2010 and lodged a complaint with the Fair Work ombudsman after he was underpaid accrued annual leave entitlements on termination.
After a Fair Work inspector contacted the business and explained its obligations, the employee was reimbursed all the money owed without the need for further action against the employer.
Other recoveries during the past few months include $14,600 for a Warrnambool labourer underpaid the minimum hourly rate and allowances, $5600 for a Camperdown delivery driver underpaid penalty rates and $7800 for a cleaner in Warrnambool underpaid the minimum hourly rate.
Fair Work ombudsman Nicholas Wilson said when the organisation’s inspectors identify a problem and contact a business, most employers check their records and then realise that a problem has occurred and fix it immediately.
“We have a flexible, fair approach and our preference is always to work with employers to help them voluntarily rectify any non-compliance issues we identify,” Mr Wilson said.
“The businesses involved have now corrected the errors that led to the underpayments and put processes in place to ensure they will not happen again.”
Fair Work Australia has conducted a number of high-profile businesses in recent months over alleged acts of underpaying employees.
Aviation giant Jetstar was taken to court last month for allegedly underpaying foreign cabin crews working on Australian domestic routes.
The workplace watchdog sought to prosecute supermarket giant Coles and claimed in court documents that the chain turned a blind eye to the alleged underpayment of almost $150,000 to six trolley collectors in South Australia.