A call centre operator has back-paid more than $77,000 to 43 employees to avoid court action for breaching workplace laws.
The Fair Work Ombudsman offered the company an Enforceable Undertaking agreement, instead of taking court action for the underpayments.
Call centre operator back-pays workers
Global Interactive Operations based on the Gold Coast performs call centre work on behalf of Global Interactive Group.
Following an audit, Fair Work inspectors found the company failed to pay casual workers:
- minimum casual loadings; and
- penalty rates for evening, overtime and public holiday hours between July 2016 and February 2019.
Additionally, the company failed to roster a minimum three hours of work for each shift, as outlined in the Award.
The underpayments totalled $77,286 with individual workers owed between $2.70 and $9,392.
The Enforceable Undertaking requires the company to employ independent auditors to check if other workers have received their correct entitlements.
Global Interactive Operations must also issue a letter of apology to each of the affected workers.
In addition to back-paying staff, the company will make a contrition payment of $5,000 to the Commonwealth Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Enforceable Undertakings send wrong message
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan believes Enforceable Undertakings send the wrong message to rogue employers.
“They might be appropriate in some circumstances, however, the regulator is offering Enforceable Undertakings more and more frequently,” he said.
“The job of the Fair Work Ombudsman is to enforce workplace laws, so that means taking dodgy bosses to court.
“Employers who steal wages from their workers and get caught currently have nothing to fear.
“All they have to do is to promise to back-pay what they owe, and make a token donation to a charity or the Commonwealth Revenue Fund, and they get away with it.”
“LABOUR-HIRING COMPANY AGREES TO BACK-PAY WORKER TO AVOID COURT ACTION”
Enforceable Undertaking appropriate
However, Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker defended the use of Enforceable Undertakings.
She said it was appropriate to use in this case because the company co-operated with the investigation and paid-back staff.
“The company faces ongoing scrutiny from the Fair Work Ombudsman, including external audits of its workforce for five years.”
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