Showing posts with label wages. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wages. Show all posts

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

This Liberal politician thinks the national electorate is composed of gullible fools


What Australian Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison is failing to point out in that tweet is that these statistics were released by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency

An Australian Government statutory agency created by the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 which is a piece of legislation passed during the period that Labor MP Julia Gillard was prime minister.


The reporting requirements under the Act apply to all non-public sector employers with 100 or more employees. Although smaller employers do not need to report, it is an explicit function of the Agency to provide education and advice to all employers – large and small.

Morrison failed to point out that the 14.5% he is bragging about is a national average, with most states having a lower gender pay gap percentage. Although women living in West Australia have to endure an eye watering 24.9% less in their pay packets than men.

He was also careful to ignore the fact that in November 2014 under an Abbott Coalition Government (in which Morrison was a cabinet minister) the national gender pay gap average was 18.5% - the highest it has ever been.

In addition Morrison neglects to mention that in Australia; The full-time total remuneration gender pay gap based on WGEA data is 22.4%, meaning men working full-time earn nearly $26,527 a year more than women working full-time.

However, what is unforgivable about Scott Morrison's tweet is that the Liberal Party objected to the bill which created the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 and Morrison himself tried to vote the bill down at 16:11 on 18 March 2012 according to Hansard.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Tweets of the Week



Note: Cr Keith Williams is deputy mayor of Ballina Shire Council on the NSW Far North Coast.


Friday, 18 May 2018

Federal Circuit Court on Thursday sentenced Trek North Tours owner operator to 12 months' prison and fined him $67,000


Leigh Alan Jorgensen, Financial Review, 13 May 2018

In the continuing matter of A.C.N. 156 455 828 Pty Ltd & Anor.

Fair Work Ombudsman, media release, 14 May 2018:


Jail term imposed in Fair Work Ombudsman’s first contempt of court case

A Northern Queensland business operator has been jailed – and then released pending the outcome of his appeal – as a result of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s first contempt-of-court action.

On Thursday May 10, the Federal Circuit Court sentenced Leigh Alan Jorgensen - the owner-operator of a Cairns company trading as Trek North Tours – to a 12-month jail term and fined him $84,956 for committing contempt of court by contravening a freezing order that applied to funds in his company’s accounts.

The Court ordered that Jorgensen’s jail term be suspended after he had spent 10 days in jail on the condition of payment of the fine.

Jorgensen sought an urgent stay of the orders in the Federal Court and lodged an appeal against his conviction and sentence. In accordance with her model litigant obligations, the Fair Work Ombudsman agreed to the stay on conditions. On May 11, the Federal Court ordered that his sentence be stayed and Jorgensen be released from jail on conditions, pending the outcome of his appeal.

A Court date has not yet been set for the appeal hearing but an order has been made that it be expedited.

The matter is the first time the Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced a contempt of court action and the first time a jail term has been imposed as a result of the Agency’s actions.

Judge Salvatore Vasta imposed the jail term after finding Jorgensen had committed contempt of court when he contravened a freezing order the Fair Work Ombudsman secured against his company in 2015. 

Freezing orders were imposed in the Federal Circuit Court in 2015 preventing any dispersion of Jorgensen’s and his company’s assets until such time as they complied with penalty and back-payment orders resulting from the Fair Work Ombudsman taking legal action against them for underpaying five back-packers on 417 working holiday visas in 2013 and 2014.

The relevant orders from that legal action, imposed by the Federal Circuit Court in June 2015, were for Jorgensen to pay a $12,000 penalty and his company to pay a $55,000 penalty and back-pay the backpackers in full, all by 17 July, 2015.

The Fair Work Ombudsman took the step of securing freezing orders against both Jorgensen and his company after both failed to pay the amounts owed by the due date and receiving information that gave rise to concerns that Jorgensen would divert company assets to avoid payment of the penalties and back-pay.

At the time, Jorgensen’s communications with the Fair Work Ombudsman suggested he was prepared to ‘bankrupt’ his company to avoid paying the penalties and back-pay order.

Jorgensen had also previously told Fair Work inspectors investigating the underpayments that the backpackers ‘would not get a cent’ in back-pay.

After the freezing orders were imposed, Jorgensen paid the penalty imposed on him personally into Court, resulting in the freezing order against him being lifted.
However, Jorgensen’s company failed to pay its penalty and failed to back-pay the workers, resulting in the freezing order against his company remaining in place.

The Fair Work Ombudsman commenced legal action against Jorgensen for contempt of Court last year, alleging that Jorgensen committed the offence of contempt of court in August 2015 when he contravened the freezing order against his company by transferring a total of $41,035 from two frozen accounts into his family trust account.
Judge Vasta found that the Fair Work Ombudsman had presented evidence to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Jorgensen committed the offence.

Pending the outcome of his appeal, the Federal Court has released Jorgensen on conditions including that he surrender his passport, remain in Queensland and report to Police twice a week.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says that the commencement of these proceedings demonstrates that her Agency is prepared to use every tool at its disposal to ensure justice is served.

“We will use every lever open to us to ensure the integrity of the administration of justice and compliance with court orders imposed under the Fair Work Act 2009.
“This includes taking unprecedented new actions available to us across the legal framework such as this one.”

BACKGROUND

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), media release, 6 February 2017:

17-023MR Former company director charged with making false or misleading statements

Former company director Leigh Alan Jorgensen, of Cairns, Queensland, has been charged with making a false or misleading statement to ASIC.

In February 2016, Mr Jorgensen lodged with ASIC a Form 6010 to voluntarily deregister A.C.N 156 455 828 Pty Ltd (ACN 156 455 828), in which ASIC alleges that Mr Jorgensen falsely and misleadingly claimed the company had no outstanding liabilities. At the time, ACN 156 455 828 had an outstanding liability owing to the Commonwealth and Mr Jorgensen was the sole director.

The charge was brought against Mr Jorgensen following an ASIC investigation into his conduct as a director of the company.

Mr Jorgensen is due to appear at the Cairns Magistrates Court on 21 March 2017.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is prosecuting the matter.

Background

The matter was brought to ASIC's attention by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), who initiated legal proceedings against Mr Jorgensen and ACN 156 455 828 for unpaid employee entitlements. The FWO obtained judgement against ACN 156 455 828 which, in part, required the company to pay the Commonwealth a pecuniary penalty of $55,000. The order was obtained by the FWO before Mr Jorgensen lodged the Form 6010 to deregister ACN 156 455 828.

As a result of ASIC's investigation, Mr Jorgensen has been charged with contravening section 1308(2) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

Mr Jorgensen ceased as a director of ACN 156 455 828 on 1 March 2016. A Liquidator was appointed to ACN 156 455 828 on 29 July 2016.

Editor's note 1:
Following a hearing at the Cairns Magistrates' Court on 21 March 2017, the matter was adjourned for further mention until 16 May 2017.
Editor's note 2:
Following a hearing at the Cairns Magistrates Court on 16 May 2017, the matter was adjourned for further mention on 27 June 2017.
Editor's note 3:
Following a hearing at the Cairns Magistrates Court on  27 June 2017, the matter was adjourned for further mention on 25 July 2017.
Editor's note 4:
Following a hearing at the Cairns Magistrates Court on  25 July 2017, the matter was adjourned for further mention on 22 August 2017.
Editor's note 5:
Following a hearing at the Cairns Magistrates Court on  22 August 2017, the matter was adjourned to 5 September 2017.
Editor's note 6:
Following a hearing at the Cairns Magistrates Court on  7 September 2017, the matter was adjourned for further mention on 19 September 2017. 
Editor's note 7:  
A warrant was issued for Mr Jorgensen following his failure to attend the Cairns Magistrates Court on 19 September 2017.
Editor's note 8:
Following a hearing at the Cairns Magistrates Court on  27 September 2017, the matter was adjourned to 3 October 2017.
Editor's note 9:
Following a hearing at the Cairns Magistrates Court on 3 October 2017, the matter was set down for a committal hearing on 24 November 2017.
Editor's note 10:
Following a hearing at the Cairns Magistrates Court on 24 November 2017, the matter was adjourned to 13 February 2018.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Liberal Party apparatchik lays out part of Turnbull Government workplace reform game plan?


More rabid than the most rabid Liberal and Nationals party members elected to the 45th Australian Parliament, former CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry & present inaugural Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, released a 4 page position paper on 27 April 2018. 

On those double-spaced A4s Ms. Carnell managed to lay out the what looks very like an Institute of Pubic Affairs-Coalition Government game plan.

Amongst other things found on this wish list are:

By-pass the Fair Work Commissioners by creating an "online dispute resolution tool as an early intervention to quickly resolve more straightforward termination disputes".


“small business must make good [on underpaid wages owed to workers] but there is to be "no prosecution, penalty or fine”

* “Lower the compensation cap, and reduce the cost and time of conciliation and settlement processes” with “maximum compensation limited to 13 rather than 26 week’s pay”.

* “Recognise and legally accept the common small business practice of paying a buffer above the minimum award wage on the assumption this will ‘take care’ of additional obligations” so that businesses do not have to meet the full legal conditions of employment.

* “Elevate substantive over procedural matters for unfair dismissal” - after all employers shouldn't have to fully comply with a Fair Work Commission code.

* Provide "free access to legal expertise" for employers, that is free access to private businesses involved in matters before the Fair Work Commission which is funded by the taxpayer.

* “The FWO to review the mechanism for providing definitive [free] advice so small businesses can have certainty and can rely on [in tribunal hearings] when defending a dispute to the FWC”.

* “tackle the behavior [sic] of those who do not do the right thing and gain unfair advantage”.

Earlier in the year on 31 January Ms. Carnell was in the media as Ombudsman decrying any reasonable increase in the national minimum wage.

So there you have it - supressed wages growth and less worker rights are on the agenda in the lead up to the forthcoming federal election.

Former hotelier, Australian Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation & current Liberal MP for Reid, Craig Laundy, is also "keen to make life easier for small and family businesses to navigate our complex industrial relations system"

He would be most pleased if businesses would "use their trust and friendship with their workers" to convince them that any changes to industrial relations legislation is going to turn their futures into paradise here on earth.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Micaelia Cash's bragging doesn't change the Abbott-Turnbull 'jobs and growth' numbers


On Thursday 19 April 2018 the Australian Minister for Jobs and Innovation and Liberal Senator for Western Australia Micaelia Cash stated: Since the Government came to office in September 2013, we have created a total of 996,800 jobs — an increase of 8.7 per cent.

What stands out for this voter is the small degree of change that has actually occurred when it come to those much vaunted 'jobs and growth' policies.

Bottom line is that in the years between the 2013 federal election when the Coalition Government came to power and the present day, the national unemployment rate has only fallen by half a percentage point and there are only four less job seekers competing for each job that becomes available.

In January 2014 the Australian population totalled est. 22.63 million, Tony Abbott had been prime minister for less than four months and seasonally adjusted there were an est.11,459,500 employed people across the country. This figure included wage employees, private contractors and business operators.

Up to an est. 1.5 million workers were being paid the National Minimum Wage.

Only 69 per cent of the 11.54 million had full-time jobs. Full-time employment decreased 7,100 to 7,953,000 and part-time employment increased 3,400 to 3,506,500.

Around 951,000 of these 11.45 million people in employment would be classified as underemployed, ie. they were employed in less than full-time or regular jobs or in jobs inadequate with respect to their training or economic needs. 

The workforce participation rate stood at 64.5% and the unemployment rate was 6.0%.

There were est. 728,600 people between 15 and 65 years of age who were unemployed and looking for work.

A total of 139,100 and 142,700 job vacancies were recorded for the months November 2013 and February 2014 respectively.

In January-February 2014 it was reported that there were 20 job seekers for every position currently available.

In March 2018 the Australian population totalled est. 24.90 million, Malcolm Turnbull had been prime minister for more than two years and there were seasonally adjusted an est.12,484,100 employed people across the country. This figure includes wage employees, private contractors and business operators.

Up to est. 1.8 million of these workers were being paid the National Minimum Wage.

Only 68 per cent of the 12.48 million had full-time jobs. Full-time employment decreased 19,900 to 8,514,100 and part-time employment increased 24,800 to 3,970,000.

Around 1.03 million of these 12.48 million people in employment would be classified as underemployed, ie. they were employed in less than full-time or regular jobs or in jobs inadequate with respect to their training or economic needs. It is likely that around 3 per cent  of this group were employed in low-paying and insecure jobs via federal government Jobactive placements.

The workforce participation rate stood at 65.5% and the unemployment rate was 5.5%.

There were est. 730,200 people between 15 and 65 years of age who were unemployed and looking for work.

There had been 220,800 job vacancies recorded by the end of February 2018.

In March 2018 it was reported that there were 16 job seekers for every position currently available.


Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Fair Work Ombudsman begins another weary audit which will inevitably discover more employers behaving like criminals


Despite wage growth falling to record lows last year, the Australian Minister for Jobs and Innovation WA Liberal Senator Michaelia Cash continues to talk down any need for a substantial national minimum wage increase and praises the good will of employers big and small.

It seems she just refuses to accpet the evidence of her own eyes.......

The Guardian, 11 April 2018:

On Wednesday the Fair Work Ombudsman announced an audit targeting the fast food, restaurant and cafe sector which will penalise businesses exploiting vulnerable workers, including students, casual staff and immigrants.

It follows numerous high-profile cases of workers being exploited, including a cook who was employed by Bar Coluzzi in Sydney on a 457 skilled worker visa who was told by her boss to repay $13,952 of her wages to cover tax and superannuation contributions. She was also working excessive unpaid overtime.

The convenience story chain 7-Eleven was found by a Senate inquiry to have been forcing workers to go to ATMs to withdraw and pay back wages. The panel investigating 7-Eleven told the inquiry it had made 188 determinations that 7-Eleven was liable to pay workers a total of $4.36m, with workers being underpaid an average of $23,000 each.

A Fair Work Ombudsman spokesman told Guardian Australia that intelligence from a range of sources found failing to pay the correct hourly base, penalty and overtime rates, and ignoring record-keeping and payslip requirements were consistent issues.

In 2016–17, 44% of the hospitality workers assisted by the ombudsman to resolve workplace disputes were aged under 26, and 31% were visa holders. Despite the hospitality industry employing around 7% of Australia’s workforce, it accounted for the highest number (17%) of disputes. It was also the industry with the highest number of anonymous reports received (36%), infringement notices issued (39%) and court actions commenced (27%).

While workers under the age of 25 account for about 15% of the Australian working population, they were involved in 28% of workplace disputes the ombudsman took on in 2017. Migrant workers make up 6% of the Australian workforce, however 18% of workplace disputes involved a visa holder.

The ombudsman has begun auditing 1,000 businesses across the country and investigators will check the time and wage records of randomly selected businesses, especially those employing a large numbers of vulnerable workers. Companies involved in serious contraventions will face penalties of up to $630,000 per contravention. The maximum penalty for individuals is now $126,000 per contravention. Failing to keep employee records or issue pay slips attracts a penalty up to $63,000 for a company and $12,600 for an individual.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Corporate tax cuts lead to 'jobs and growth' in Australia? Pull the other one!


This Business Council of Australia survey was apparently mothballed when initial results indicated that it would reveal the truth about outcomes flowing from the Turnbull Government’s planned corporate tax cuts - a distinct lack of jobs and wages growth.

Financial Review, 27 March 2018:

Fewer than one in five of Australia's leading chief executives say they will use the Turnbull government's proposed company tax cut to directly increase wages or employ more staff, according to a secret survey conducted by the Business Council of Australia.

More than 80 per cent said they would either use the proceeds to boost returns to shareholders or invest in the company.

The explosive revelation comes as the government is still struggling to secure the final two Senate votes needed to pass the remainder of the $65 billion package.
The survey follows a letter to all Senators last week by the BCA and 10 of the nation's top chief executive officers in which they pledged to reinvest the proceeds of the tax cuts with the ultimate aim of increasing wages.

"If the Senate passes this important legislation we, as some of the nation's largest employers, commit to invest more in Australia which will lead to employing more Australians and therefore stronger wage growth as the tax cut takes effect," the letter said.

But The Australian Financial Review has learned that the BCA directly surveyed the chief executives of its 130-plus members about a company tax cut this year, in the wake of the company tax rate cut in the United States.

The chief executives were asked which of four options they would nominate as their preferred response to the company tax cut in Australia.

These were: returning funds to shareholders; more investment; increasing the wages of their existing workforce; or increasing employment.

More than 80 per cent nominated one of the first two options while only 16 per cent to 17 per cent nominated higher wages or employment.

The survey results are understood to have been tightly held but were reported on internally in a memo entitled "the good news and the bad news".

A spokesman for the BCA confirmed the survey to the Financial Review on Monday but downplayed its significance…….

This lobby group has now decided that 'spin' is more important than fact and senators have all received a BCA video appeal promising well-paid and meaningful jobs and wages growth that only growing investment can deliver if the comapny tax cits are passed.

A neat trick given that its members are also arguing before the Fair Work Commission Annual Wage Review 2017-18 that the minimum wage should remain as is or only be increased by 34-35 cents an hour which represents no growth in real wages.


The vague, slyly worded non-promise to lift workers wages received by Senators



Google some of the businesses on this short list and one finds an unflattering employer history with regard to employee wages and job terms & conditions.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Turnbull Government, business and industry still out to suppress minimum wage


According to the Australian Treasury in November 2017;  

On a variety of measures, wage growth is low....

However, weaker labour productivity growth seems unlikely to be a cause of the current period of slow wage growth in Australia. Over the past five years, labour productivity in Australia has grown at around its 30-year average annual growth rate....

An examination of wage growth by employee characteristics using the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey and administrative taxation data suggests that recent subdued wage growth has been experienced by the majority of employees, regardless of income or occupation.....

This is true across the States and Territories, across industries, and across both the public and private sectors. Real wage growth – wage growth relative to the increase in prices in the economy – has also been low.

The Reserve Bank of Australia suggests in its March Quarter 2017 Bulletin that there is"

...some tentative evidence that the relationship between wage growth and labour market conditions may have changed, and that this may help to explain recent low wage growth. Using job-level micro wage data, we also find that, since 2012, wage increases have been less frequent and wage growth outcomes have become much more similar across jobs.


Being paid at the minimum wage rate means that a worker is paid the lowest hourly income for his/her labour that is legally allowable.

At the beginning of the 21st Century (January 2001) the national minimum wage was $10.53 per hour or $400.40 per 38 hour week (before tax).

The current national minimum wage is $18.29 per hour or $694.90 per 38 hour week (before tax) according to the Fair Work Commission.

That represents a rise of $7.76 an hour over the course of 17 years - the equivalent of 45 cents a year.

Not a spectacular hourly base wage growth by any measure.

In March 2018 the Australian Federation of Employers and Industries (AFEI), Australian Retailers Association, Restaurant & Catering Industrial (RCI), Australian Business Industrial and the NSW Business Chamber Ltd (along with eight other industry representatives) made initial submissions to the Fair Work Commission Annual Wage Review 2017-18.

It will come as no surprise that any decent rise in the minimum wage is being resisted in these submissions.

A number of business and industry representatives appear to believe that even raising the minimum wage hourly rate by as little as 34-35 cents is an onerous burden.

Frequent mention is made of the supposed part the businesses they represent play in national ‘jobs and growth’ and the risk wage increases allegedly pose.

A notion supported by the Turnbull Government’s own submission.

Couched in polite terms within their submissions is the last resort position of both the federal government and big business. 

It seems they are reluctantly willing to accept a minimum wage increase that doesn't rise by more than 1.9% (rate of inflation in December 2017) and definitely resist the idea of a rise that actually results in real wages growth.

However, there is another less polite aspect of the part businesses play in the lives of workers and it should be remembered when listening to business and industry representatives make their wage case during media appearances.

The Australian Government Fair Work Ombudsman’s 2018 media releases offer a window on that other aspect which includes a widespread contempt for both workers and the law.

 Media release, 16 March 2018:

Western Sydney campaign reveals high rates of unlawful workplaces

High rates of non-compliance uncovered by the Fair Work Ombudsman in Western Sydney have reinforced the importance of ensuring that Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities have ready access to workplace information and advice.

The Fair Work Ombudsman today released the results of its proactive education and compliance campaign in the region, covering suburbs including Cabramatta, Guildford, Mt Druitt, Fairfield and Merrylands.

Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of the 197 businesses audited by the Fair Work Ombudsman during the campaign were found to be non-compliant with workplace laws.

The campaign led to a total of $369,324 in unpaid wages and entitlements being recovered for 199 workers.

Sixty-four per cent of businesses were compliant with record-keeping and payslip requirements, while just 58 per cent were paying their employees correctly.

The campaign was initiated following an increase in the number of requests for assistance received from some parts of the region in previous years, despite an overall decrease across New South Wales in the same period.

As part of the campaign, Fair Work inspectors conducted site visits with a particular focus on Harris Park and Parramatta in response to intelligence received by the agency indicating potential non-compliance amongst restaurants in the area.

The suburbs are also home to a higher than average proportion of migrants, with both Harris Park (85 per cent) and Parramatta (74 per cent) at more than twice the national average of 30.2 per cent.

Acknowledging that new arrivals to Australia may have a limited awareness of Australian workplace laws, it was considered that businesses in the region would benefit from tailored support and education from the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Only two of the 23 businesses visited in these suburbs were found to be fully compliant – a non-compliance rate of 91 per cent.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the non-compliance rates uncovered by the campaign are highly concerning and cannot be tolerated.

“Where possible, we seek to educate employers and employees about their workplace rights and obligations and equip them with the tools and information they need to ensure they are complying with the law,” Ms James said.

“This area has a large proportion of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, who can find it more challenging to navigate that information or even know where to find it in the first place.

“When combined with a lack of familiarity with workplace laws, language barriers can present significant difficulties to employers seeking to understand and comply with their obligations. 

“The results of this campaign reaffirm the importance of my agency’s work in reaching out to culturally and linguistically diverse communities to raise awareness of the help we can provide.

“We are also making more and more of our tools and resources available in multiple languages, including our Anonymous Report function and the Record My Hours app,” Ms James said.

“Our website can also be viewed in 40 languages other than English with a simple click of the mouse with our new website translator.

“With the wealth of free information and resources available to help businesses understand their obligations, there are no excuses for breaching workplace laws.”
Overall, Fair Work inspectors issued 26 formal cautions, 20 infringement notices (on-the-spot fines) and 11 compliance notices to non-compliant businesses during the course of the campaign.

In one matter, a restaurant business was found to be paying its casual employees under an old award, resulting in a total underpayment of $10,444 to three employees. Fair Work inspectors issued the employer with a compliance notice, and the employees were fully back-paid in accordance with the notice.

Ms James said that non-compliant businesses were now on notice that future breaches could result in serious enforcement action.

“We are happy to work with businesses who require advice and support to meet their workplace obligations, and we will continue our work to ensure our materials are easily accessible to those that need them,” Ms James said.

“Indeed, we were pleased that the employers that we dealt with over the course of this campaign were cooperative and willing to engage with our inspectors, and that all contraventions were willingly rectified.

“We will continue to pursue new initiatives aimed at engaging with businesses in the region to ensure they have access to the help and information they need.”

Ms James reaffirmed however that her agency will not hesitate to take action where deliberate or repeated breaches of the law were identified.

“Employers who fail to put in place processes to ensure compliance expose themselves to enforcement action, including litigation in the most serious cases,” Ms James said.

Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50. 

Potential workplace breaches can be anonymously reported in 16 languages other than English using the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Anonymous Report function at www.fairwork.gov.au/inlanguageanonymousreport.

The Fair Work Ombudsman recently developed six videos in 16 languages other than English to help visa holders to understand their workplace rights. These and other in-language resources are available at www.fairwork.gov.au/languages.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s Record My Hours app is aimed at tackling the persistent problem of underpayment of vulnerable workers by using geo-fencing technology to provide workers with a record of the time they spend at their workplace. The app is available in a number of different languages and can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.

Follow Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James on Twitter @NatJamesFWO external-icon.png, the Fair Work Ombudsman @fairwork_gov_au External link icon or find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/fairwork.gov.au External link icon.

Sign up to receive the Fair Work Ombudsman’s media releases direct to your email inbox at www.fairwork.gov.au/mediareleases.  

Read the Western Sydney Campaign report (PDF 445.5KB)  [my yellow highlighting]

Media Release, 5 March 2018:
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s latest Compliance Activity Report shows a workplace non-compliance rate of 76 per cent in the Caltex service network…..
The Fair Work Ombudsman commenced proceedings against the former operator of the Caltex Five Dock service station in Sydney, Aulion Pty Ltd, and has also initiated proceedings against Abdul Wahid and Sons Pty Ltd, the former franchisee of a number of Caltex outlets in Sydney.
In both cases, the Fair Work Ombudsman alleges that the absence of accurate time and wage records prevented inspectors from completing audits and determining whether employees had received their lawful entitlements.
During the activity, the regulator issued nine infringement notices, 11 compliance notices and 16 formal cautions to non-compliant franchisees.
Inspectors also recovered a total of $9,329.85 in back-pay for 26 workers who were underpaid during a one-month assessment period.
Ms James said the agency believes the figure would be higher if underpayments could have been accurately calculated, but with so many deficiencies in the outlets’ records it is impossible to be sure of the true extent of the wage rip-offs. 
“There’s no question that if these findings indicate the norm in this network, and if these underpayments are replicated throughout the business month after month, we are quickly looking at millions of dollars of underpayments over the course of a few years,” Ms James said…..

Media Release, 2 March 2018:
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the former franchisee of a 7-Eleven retail outlet in the Melbourne CBD for allegedly exploiting three international students through a cash-back scheme.
Facing Court are Xia Jing Qi Pty Ltd, which operated a 7-Eleven retail store on William Street until March 2017, and the store’s former manager, Ai Ling “Irene” Lin.
It is alleged that after 7-Eleven head office set up a high-tech payroll system in 2016 aimed at ensuring employees were paid lawful minimum rates, the company and Ms Lin tried to disguise underpayments of three employees by requiring them to pay back thousands of dollars in wages.  
The three employees were Chinese students, aged between 21 and 24, who were in Australia on student visas. Ms Lin, from Taiwan, was also in Australia on a student visa…..

Media Release, 27 Feb 2018:
The Fair Work Ombudsman has brought proceedings relating to redundancy entitlements, in a new legal action against services company Spotless Services Australia Limited for allegedly contravening workplace laws when it terminated the employment of three workers at Perth International Airport.

Media Release, 26 Feb 2018:
The operator of a Degani café in Melbourne’s north-east is facing Court after he allegedly used false records to conceal more than $12,000 in underpayments of staff, including teenagers and overseas workers.

Media Release, 21 Feb 2018:
The operators of a Melbourne restaurant have been hit with nearly $200,000 in penalties, after a Judge ruled they deliberately underpaid workers.

Media Release, 20 Feb 2018
A Perth security company has been penalised in Court for underpaying its guards more than $200,000, with a Judge saying the company’s claim that it thought overpaying in relation to minimum rates would “counteract” other rates of pay was a “lame excuse”.

Media Release, 16 Feb 2018:
The operator of a number of massage parlours in Adelaide who said he was “too busy and lazy” to keep proper records has been penalised for contraventions of record-keeping and pay slip laws, following legal action by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Media Release, 15 Feb 2018:
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against a Bundaberg-based transport company for allegedly underpaying an employee more than $11,000 over a period of just nine months.

Media Release, 14 Feb 2018:
Cleaning contractors at 90 per cent of Woolworths’ Tasmanian supermarket sites were not complying with workplace laws, a Fair Work Ombudsman Inquiry has found.

Media Release, 13 Feb 2018:
Michael Patrick Pulis, a business operator who told his employee to “seriously, f**k off…” when the worker asked when he would receive money owed to him, has been penalised $21,500.
Judge Grant Riethmuller also penalised Mr Pulis’ company, Pulis Plumbing Pty Ltd, a further $100,000 after a plumber’s labourer, who was 20 years old at the time, was underpaid by $26,882 over just three months.
Judge Riethmuller described the conduct as “outrageous exploitation of a young person”, adding that the behaviour was “such to arouse much emotion” and “nothing short of avarice”.
The worker was underpaid when he was employed by Pulis Plumbing to perform work in the Melbourne, Geelong and Bendigoareas between September and December, 2014.

Media Release, 8 Feb 2018:
A Northern Territory refuge for women and children victims of domestic violence has back-paid 11 employees a total of more than $50,000, after intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Media Release, 6 Feb 2018:
The operator of a remote Northern Territory homestead is facing major penalties after underpaying 17 employees more than $23,000.

Media Release, 24 Jan 2018:
A sushi outlet operator and an accountant have been penalised almost $200,000 for their involvement in an unlawful internship program that exploited young overseas workers.

Media Release, 22 Jan 2018:
A Brisbane labour hire business will face court for allegedly underpaying 10 employees more than $14,000 through an unlawful unpaid work experience program.

Media Release, 17 Jan 2018:
Ten truck drivers who worked for an Adelaide transport company have been back-paid a total of $374,000 following successful legal action by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Media Release, 16 Jan 2018:
The former manager of an Oliver Brown chocolate café outlet on the Gold Coast who was ‘seeing what he could get away with’ when he exploited overseas workers has been penalised $27,200.

Media Release, 12 Jan 2018:
The Fair Work Ombudsman recently assisted workers at four businesses in suburbs south east of Melbourne to recover almost $50,000 in unpaid wages and entitlements.

Media Release, 9 Jan 2018:
A Judge has penalised a repeat-offender Melbourne childcare operator $85,000 for her latest staff underpayments, saying she required a “sharp lesson” to make her appreciate her legal obligations.

Then there is the naked exploitation outlined in the November 2017 UNSW-UTS study, WAGE THEFT IN AUSTRALIA: Findings of the National Temporary Migrant Work Survey:

A substantial proportion of international students, backpackers and other temporary migrants were paid around half the legal minimum wage in Australia…..

Underpayment was widespread across numerous industries but was especially prevalent in food services, and especially severe in fruit and vegetable picking.

Two in five participants (38%) had their lowest paid job in cafes, restaurants and takeaway shops. This was a far greater proportion than for any other type of job….

Large-scale wage theft was prevalent across a range of industries, but the worst paid jobs were in fruit- and vegetable-picking and farm work….

The study confirms that wage theft is endemic among international students, backpackers and other temporary migrants in Australia. For a substantial number of temporary migrants, it is also severe.

Besides wages theft, employers have also developed a penchant for pocketing workers superannuation.

News.com.au, 30 August 2017:

 …it turns out that Australia’s compulsorary superannuation system has a great big hole in it — one worth $17 billion.

That’s how much super employers have dodged paying in the past eight years, according to new figures released by the ATO this week.

The ATO analysis found that employees had likely missed out on $2.85 billion of their super guarantee payments during the 2014/15 financial year, because employers dodged their obligations, with small business owners among the worst offenders.