Published on Feb 22, 2016

Feel free to share

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) recovered more than $22.3 million in unpaid wages and entitlements last year according to its 2014-2015 annual report.

Nearly a quarter of disputes arose in the accommodation and food services and retail sectors. This is particularly relevant to Cessnock businesses as these are the top two employing sectors in the local government area.

Businesses big and small can find themselves involved in a dispute. One of the more high profile cases in the news recently has been the systemic underpayment of Seven-11 workers. However, just last week the FWO commenced proceedings against a Melbourne Malaysian restaurant to recover $90,000 in unpaid wages.

Recruitment specialist and Labour Focus Managing Director Barry Miller said that to minimise their exposure to risk, employers should be aware of their obligations under fair work legislation.

“Even if employees are engaged via an arms-length arrangement like labour hire or via a contractor, the host employer still has obligations under the Fair Work Act 2009 to ensure that workers are treated in accordance with the National Employment Standards,” Mr Miller said.

The FWO has created the Pay and Conditions Tool (PACT) to assist employers in ensuring employees are paid properly.

The PACT tool calculates total pay and leave allowances, as well as individual shift payments. A notice and redundancy calculator provides entitlement information for ending a staff member’s employment.

Quick stats from the Fair Work Ombudsman Annual Report 2014-2015Fair pay

  • Requests for assistance from the FWO were most often finalised through dispute resolution (77 per cent of total).
  • 68 per cent of disputes related to minimum wages and conditions.
  • Men were more likely to file a dispute than women, accounting for 58 per cent and 42 per cent respectively.
  • NSW had the highest number of disputes filed at 28 per cent of national total.

Visit the FWO website to find out more about the PACT.

Click here to read a copy of the Fair Work Ombudsman Annual Report 2014-2015.

Find out more about recruitment and labour hire at the Labour Focus website.