Jobs, compliance and more . . .


Jobs, compliance and more . . .

Unemployment steady | Job vacancies | 300 retailers earmarked for scrutiny | Northern Queensland worker back paid $52,000 | Catch-all tribunal in NSW operating.


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Unemployment steady
Australia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points but the rounded estimate remained at 5.8 per cent in December, as announced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.
The ABS reported the number of people employed decreased by 22,600 to 11,629,500 in December.
The decrease in employment was due to decreased full-time employment, down 31,600 people to 8,067,700, offset by increased part-time employment, up 9,000 to 3,561,800.
The decrease in total employment was driven by decreases in male and female full-time employment and male part-time employment.

Job vacancies

Total job vacancies in November 2013 were 140,000, a decrease of 0.3 per cent from August 2013.

The number of job vacancies in the private sector was 129,500 in November 2013, a decrease of 0.1 per cent from August 2013.
The number of job vacancies in the public sector was 10,500 in November 2013, a decrease of 3.6 per cent from August 2013.

300 retailers earmarked for scrutiny

Random auditing of up to 300 retail shops across three states is underway as part of the latest Fair Work Ombudsman pro-active education and compliance campaign.

Employers in Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory will be asked to open their books to allow Fair Work inspectors to check they are paying staff their minimum entitlements.

These include minimum hourly rates, penalty rates and overtime. Compliance with record-keeping and payslip obligations will also be monitored.

The campaign will focus on clothing and merchandise retailers, as well as some food retailers such as supermarkets.
Butchers, fishmongers and fruit and vegetable shops will be excluded because they were recently the subject of a specialist food retailers’ campaign in South Australia.

Where inspectors discover issues, they assist employers to voluntarily rectify contraventions.

Employers and employees seeking assistance should visit the website or phone the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Northern Queensland worker back paid $52,000

An underpaid truck driver in Northern Queensland has been back paid $52,000, following recent intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The worker — who is aged in his 60s and was employed at a transport business near Cairns — was underpaid the minimum hourly rate and travel allowance entitlements between January 2010 and September last year.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the underpayment occurred because of a lack of awareness by the employer of its payment obligations under workplace laws.

‘The underpayment was inadvertent and the employer has co-operated fully and promptly with Fair Work Inspectors, so no further compliance action has been necessary,’ Ms James said.
‘This case illustrates that a small inadvertent underpayment per hour, left unchecked over time, can result in a business having to make a big back-payment it was not budgeting for, so it’s important employers make sure they are aware of the pay rates that apply to their staff.’

Other recent recoveries include:
    • $19,100 for a foreign worker at a Cairns bakery who was underpaid wages and personal leave entitlements over a 12-month period in 2011–12
    • $5600 for a tradesman at a Cairns construction business who was not paid his final wages upon termination of employment last year.
Ms James said the employees were back paid all money owed without the need for further action after Fair Work Inspectors contacted the businesses and explained their responsibilities.

Catch-all tribunal in NSW operating

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) started on 1 January 2014.

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal is a one-stop shop for almost all state tribunals making it easier for people in New South Wales to access the services they need.

The government has integrated 22 of the state’s tribunals and bodies into a new overarching tribunal that will provide a simple, quick and effective process for resolving disputes, supervising occupations and reviewing executive action.

Harnessing the expertise of the state’s existing tribunals, NCAT operates four specialist divisions:
    • Administrative and Equal Opportunity
    • Consumer and Commercial
    • Guardianship
    • Occupational.
Further information is available from NCAT.  NCAT can be contacted by phone on: 1300 006 228.
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