Almost two-thirds of audited businesses in western Sydney were found to be underpaying their workers, or were failing to keep accurate pay records.
The startling findings reported in Fairfax were made by inspectors from the Fair Work Ombudsman, which audited almost 200 businesses, and found 64 per cent were breaching workplace laws.
The suburbs targeted
The suburbs under investigation included Cabramatta, Mount Druitt, Guildford, Merrylands and Fairfield, with inspectors able to recover a total of $369,324 in unpaid wages and entitlements for 199 workers.
One restaurant was found to have underpaid three casual employees a total of $10,444 because they were using the wrong award.
In that case, the employer was issued with a compliance notice and the workers were repaid what they were owed.
A hair salon also failed to keep up to date with modern award changes, and was forced to back pay three apprentices a total of $3,625.
The audit also found that 36 per cent of businesses were not keeping accurate records, including issuing proper pay slips.
Other suburbs targeted were Harris Park and Parramatta, which are home to a high proportion of migrants.
Just two of the 23 businesses audited in these suburbs were found to be fully compliant with workplace laws.
Non-compliance rates ‘highly concerning’
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James told Fairfax that the non-compliance rates were highly concerning and could not be tolerated.
“Employers who fail to put in place processes to ensure compliance expose themselves to enforcement action, including litigation in the most serious cases,” she said.
“Where possible, we seek to educate employers and employees about their workplace rights and obligations and equip them with the right tools and information they need to ensure they are complying with the law.”
No reason for miscalculating wages
The Fair Work Ombudsman has information available online in multi languages, so there really should be no excuse, according to Ruth Gardner who investigates underpayments for employee advocacy firm Industrial Relations Claims.
“When Fair Work has so many fantastic resources available on their website, there is no reason for miscalculating an employee’s wages,” she said.
“If you’re going to run your own business, knowing the cost of doing business is part of the fundamental basics of being a successful operator.”
If you have not been paid your proper wages and entitlements, or if you are considering legal action to recover stolen wages, we can help.
Please call our specialist team at Industrial Relations Claims today on
1300 045 466