1.1 million calls for advice to FW Ombudsman: annual report

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1.1 million calls for advice to FW Ombudsman: annual report

The Fair Work Infoline last year took 1.1 million telephone calls from Australians seeking advice about workplace relations, according to the Fair Work Ombudsman’s 2009-10 annual report.

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The Fair Work Infoline last year took 1.1 million telephone calls from Australians seeking advice about workplace relations, according to the Fair Work Ombudsman’s 2009–10 annual report.
 
The report says more than 747,000 people also visited the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website last financial year for information about workplace matters.
 
Fact sheets
 
Fair Work websites recorded a total of more than 3.6 million hits and practical resources such as fact sheets, self-audit checklists, how-to-guides and templates were downloaded more than 1.2 million times.
 
An interactive ‘live help’ online facility — a real-time, text-based chat program — was used more than 35,000 times for information and advice.
 
Also last year, the Fair Work Ombudsman:
  • finalised 21,070 investigations from complaints
  • resolved almost 99% of all investigations through voluntary compliance and not court action
  • undertook three national and 34 regional education and compliance campaigns
  • doubled its shopfront network to 52 offices nationally, through a partnership with state-based workplace relations partners in South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland
  • expanded translated material for employers from culturally and linguistically diverse communities to cover 26 languages.
 
The Fair Work Ombudsman recouped more than $26.1 million for 16,088 underpaid workers nationally from complaints and targeted audits. The state-by-state breakdown was:
  • $7.65 million for 4718 workers in New South Wales
  • $6.90 million for 3164 workers in Victoria
  • $4.25 million for 3749 workers in Queensland
  • $2.65 million for 1634 workers in Western Australia
  • $1.75 million for 1178 workers in the Australian Capital Territory
  • $1.71 million for 976 workers in South Australia
  • $870,000 for 420 workers in Tasmania
  • almost $400,000 for 249 workers in the Northern Territory.
 
Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson said he is encouraged that industry and employers are engaging with the Agency’s free services and more Australian workers are becoming aware of how the organisation can assist them.
 
 
Agreement delay meant workers were underpaid $53,000
 
Meanwhile, following action by the Fair Work Ombudsman, a national hotel chain has been forced to repay 165 workers $53,000 because it did not implement its new collective agreement within the required seven-day period after it was approved.
 
Instead, the hotel chain, with more than 30 hotels and resorts across Australia, took almost two months to implement the agreement.
 
An investigation by the Ombudsman has found that consequently the workers were underpaid during the period before the agreement was finally implemented.
 
After Fair Work inspectors contacted the company and explained its obligations, workers in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia were back paid an average of $321 each.
 
Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell said that given the company cooperated and swiftly rectified the matter, there will be no further action.
 
‘We acknowledge that accidental breaches of workplace laws do and will occur,’ he said.
 
‘Our preference is to work with employers to educate them and help them voluntarily rectify any non-compliance issues.’
 
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