One-third of construction firms in breach of IR laws

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One-third of construction firms in breach of IR laws

A random audit of 272 construction businesses in Sydney has shown that 31% of them were in breach of workplace law.

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A random audit of 272 construction businesses in Sydney has shown that 31% of them were in breach of workplace law.
 
When Federal Workplace Ombudsman inspectors checked the books, they found that 83 employers — or 31% — were non-compliant, mostly because of minor record-keeping and pay-slip breaches.
 
$22,000 back-pay
 
Workplace Ombudsman NSW director Ross Drysdale says $22,000 in back-pay has been recouped for 88 employees who were inadvertently underpaid.
 
Drysdale said the underpayments were the result of a small number of employers failing to pass on the October 2008 increase in the federal minimum wage or pay other casual loadings.
 
He said his office decided to take no further action against the companies because employers had been quick to voluntarily rectify all issues.
 
Workplace Rights Week
 
Meanwhile, the underpayment of young workers, failure to comply with record-keeping requirements and employers applying incorrect pay rates will be among the local Armidale, New South Wales, issues that workplace inspectors will aim to address during Workplace Rights Week.
 
Inspectors will set up a workplace rights information booth at Centro Armidale shopping centre on 21–22 April and will visit businesses at the centre to educate employers about record-keeping obligations and other requirements under workplace laws.
 
Local issues
 
Workplace Ombudsman executive-director of field operations Bill Loizides said local Armidale issues identified by workplace inspectors include underpayment of students, juniors, trainees and apprentices, employers underpaying workers as a result, applying the wrong pay rates and awards, and employers failing to keep proper time-and-wages records and issue sufficiently detailed payslips.
 
Recent recoveries of money for workers in the Armidale area include:
  • $1900 for a beauty industry worker who had been underpaid the minimum hourly rate and entitlements upon termination
  • $1140 for an apprentice in the food industry who had not been paid overtime rates
  • $1127 for a transport industry worker who had been underpaid the hourly rate, pay in lieu of notice and accrued annual leave upon termination.
 
Loizides said the aim of Workplace Rights Week is to educate workers and employers about their workplace rights and obligations and to increase awareness of how the Workplace Ombudsman can assist them.
 
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