An investigation into Queensland’s security companies has resulted in the recovery of $389,982 in stolen wages for guards.
The audits conducted by the Fair Work Ombudsman found more than half of the businesses were non-compliant with workplace laws.
Recovery of stolen wages
Inspectors interviewed workers, managers and business owners, in addition to checking employment records and pay slips.
They found 53 percent were non-compliant with the Fair Work Act.
Most of the breaches involved failures to pay proper wages and entitlements.
Fair Work did not find any evidence of sham contracting.
As a result of the operation, Fair Work issued 11 Compliance Notices resulting in $389,982 in back-payments by eight businesses to 163 affected employees.
Recoveries from individual businesses ranged from $357,275 for 136 workers from a north Queensland business to $102 for one worker from a Brisbane business.
Inspectors also issued two Infringement Notices resulting in payments of fines totalling $420.
Fair Work said the businesses face higher-level enforcement action for any future breaches.
No excuse for wage theft
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from IR Claims says there is no excuse for wage theft.
“The security industry is rife with underpayments and sham contracting,” he said.
“Many workers are visa holders and have language barriers.
“Therefore they don’t always know their workplace rights or are afraid to speak up for fear of losing their visa and their chance to stay in Australia.”
Fair Work says it has an agreement with the Department of Home Affairs where visa holders can ask for help without fear of their visa being cancelled.
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