Ombudsman ousts WA businesses

A damning Fair Work Ombudsman report on workplace law compliance in WA has prompted CCIWA’s Workplace Consulting team to remind businesses of their obligations as employers.

The results from FWO campaigns conducted in WA have resulted in $388,261 back payments to local workers, including more than $300,000 recovered following court actions commenced by the regulator.

The proactive education and compliance campaigns covered the southern Perth and Albany-Manjimup regions.

Fair Work inspectors assessed the time and wages records of 148 businesses in Armadale, Kwinana and Rockingham as well as 147 businesses across Albany, Denmark, Manjimup and their surrounding regions.

Of the 148 businesses audited in southern Perth, 39 per cent were found to be not complying with their obligations under Australian workplace laws.

The campaign found that 26 per cent of these businesses were not paying their workers correctly, and 19 per cent were not complying with pay slip and record-keeping obligations.

Inspectors uncovered a total of 92 individual breaches across 57 businesses. A total of $40,391 was recovered for 73 workers in the region during the campaign activity.

An additional $300,491 was recovered after the agency brought proceedings before the courts in respect of two restaurants and a security company audited during the campaign.

The three businesses were penalised a total of $161,270 as a result of the court actions.

CCIWA’s Workplace Consulting Manager Ryan Martin says there are more than just monetary consequences to businesses if they don’t comply with workplace laws.

“Your business could easily be exposed to significant underpayment claims which may also attract negative media attention like this,” he says.

Martin says for a lot of businesses, workplace laws are extremely complex and hard to navigate so it can help to call in the experts.

“The Workplace Consulting Team can assist by conducting a workplace audit to help make you aware of any potential compliance or underpayment issues to avoid court action and penalties as well as ensuring you have adequate documentation and systems in place,” he says.

The Fair Work Ombudsman WA compliance campaign report findings:

Of the 148 businesses audited in the Southern Perth region during the campaign:

  • 57 (39 per cent) were not compliant with all requirements
  • 39 (26 per cent) were not paying their employees correctly
  • 28 (19 per cent) were not compliant with record-keeping and pay slip requirements
  • $40,391 was recovered from 21 businesses for 73 employees.

Of the 147 businesses audited in the Albany-Manjimup region during the campaign:

  • 76 (52 per cent) were not compliant with all requirements
  • 50 (34 per cent) were not paying their employees correctly
  • 40 (28 per cent) were not compliant with record-keeping and pay slip requirements
  • $47,379 was recovered from 28 businesses for 147 employees.

A number of compliance and enforcement outcomes resulted from the campaign, including:

  • 12 formal cautions issued
  • 14 infringement notices issued worth $6660
  • four compliance notices issued recovering $31,324.17 for 20 employees
  • the commencement of three litigations as a result of the campaign, recovering $300,481 from three businesses for 71 employees.

►Worried about compliance issues in your business? CCI’s Workplace Consulting team can offer you peace of mind by conducting a workplace audit. Talk to us today on 08 9365 7746 or email erconsulting@cciwa.com for more information.

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