The underpayments came to light following random audits of almost 2000 retail employers by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
The underpayments came to light following random audits of almost 2000 retail employers by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Retail businesses beware

MORE than 750 workers at retail stores throughout Australia have received an unexpected bonus - more than half a million dollars in back-pay.

The underpayments came to light following random audits of almost 2000 retail employers by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

A targeted education and compliance campaign has recovered $585,000 for 755 retail staff who were being unknowingly underpaid.

NSW employers accounted for 41 per cent of the total underpayment, with businesses being asked to reimburse $237,786 to 220 employees.

Fair Work inspectors also recouped:

  • $153,820 for 187 staff in Victoria,
  • $74,729 for 95 staff in South Australia,
  • $45,071 for 125 staff in Queensland,
  • $43,659 for 66 staff in Western Australia,
  • $12,091 for 26 staff in Tasmania,
  • $10,242 for 16 staff in the Northern Territory, and
  • $8001 for 20 staff in the ACT.

Of 1866 employers audited so far, 492 (26 per cent) have recorded a total of 653 contraventions - primarily relating to underpayment of wages, failure to conform with payslip requirements and failure to adhere to time and wage requirements.

A further 224 businesses remain under investigation.

A few "Don'ts" for business owners

  • Employing adults only, potentially in breach of anti-discrimination laws,
  • Unlawfully requiring staff to make purchases in-house and deducting the price from employee's wages,
  • Incorrectly classifying employees, and thus underpaying their entitlements, and
  • Expecting staff to perform set up and closing duties outside of trading hours for no payment.

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