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NSW workers comp reforms through lower house | Back-pay for Whyalla workers | FWO makes recoveries in south-west Victoria.

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NSW workers comp reforms through lower house | Back-pay for Whyalla workers | FWO makes recoveries in south-west Victoria.

NSW workers comp reforms through lower house
 
Legislation to reform the NSW Workers Compensation Scheme was agreed to by the lower house of State Parliament on Tuesday and transmitted to the Legislative Council.

Treasurer Mike Baird advised Parliament that urgently needed reforms to the WorkCover scheme will be delivered by the Workers Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 and its cognate Bill, the Safety, Return to Work and Support Board Bill 2012, which establishes a single board to oversee the functions of the WorkCover Authority, the Motor Accidents Authority, the Lifetime Care and Support Authority, and the Sporting Injuries Committee.

Deficit
 
‘With a deficit in excess of $4 billion, the scheme currently is unsustainable,’ he said.

New South Wales workplace safety outcomes are similar to Queensland and Victoria, yet our workers compensation premiums costs on average are around 20 per cent to 60 per cent more. Increasing premiums to address the scheme’s poor experience would only exacerbate the current discrepancy to the detriment of jobs growth.

If the Government does not act now then based on actuarial advice to the scheme the people of New South Wales will face the prospect of a 28 per cent increase in workers compensation premiums when the next insurance premiums order is made at the end of June in order to clear the deficit, with future premium increases also likely. This would have a negative impact on the economy, businesses and jobs growth in New South Wales.


 
Back-pay for Whyalla workers
 
Two workers at Whyalla in South Australias Iron Triangle have been back paid a total of $27,200, following recent intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The largest recovery was $18,500 for a manager in the engineering industry. The male employee in his 40s, who was employed for six years, lodged a complaint with the Fair Work Ombudsman after he was underpaid redundancy entitlements.

After a Fair Work inspector contacted the business and explained its obligations, the employee was promptly reimbursed without the need for further action against the employer.

Redundancy, etc, pay
 
In another local case, a worker in the manufacturing industry has been back paid $8700, after he was underpaid redundancy entitlements and wages in lieu of notice.

The Fair Work Ombudsman recovered a total of $1.579 million back-pay for 1048 underpaid workers in South Australia last financial year.

Nationally
 
Between 1 July 2009 and 31 March 2012, the Agency recovered a total of $78 million for 47,857 underpaid workers nationally.

‘When we find mistakes, we are here to assist and give practical advice to employers on how to voluntarily fix them,’ says Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson.

Mr Wilson says that the Fair Work Ombudsmans Assisted Voluntary Resolution team is now achieving resolution of about half its referrals within the first month.


 
FWO makes recoveries in south-west Victoria
 
Four workers in south-west Victoria have been back paid a total of $58,700, following recent intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The largest recovery was $30,700 for a farm manager at a rural property near Warrnambool.

The male employee in his 50s, who was employed between 1999 and 2010, lodged a complaint with the Fair Work Ombudsman after he was underpaid accrued annual leave entitlements on termination.

After a Fair Work inspector contacted the business and explained its obligations, the employee was reimbursed all the money owed without the need for further action against the employer.

Other recoveries
 
Other recent recoveries include:
  • $14,600 for a labourer at Warrnambool underpaid the minimum hourly rate and allowances
  • $7800 for a cleaner at Warrnambool underpaid the minimum hourly rate
  • $5600 for a Camperdown delivery driver underpaid penalty rates.

 

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