FWBC obtains $77,538 in back-pay for WA painters

Fair Work Building & Construction (FWBC) has brokered an Enforceable Undertaking by a painting company in Perth which secures back-payments for 54 employees.

In addition to $77,538 in wages and entitlements recovered for the employees, the company will also pay $10,000 to the Employment Law Centre of WA (Inc) to fund the provision of workplace relations advice to vulnerable workers.

FWBC’s audit of the company, Higgins Coatings Pty Ltd, identified several contraventions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act), Fair Work Regulations 2009 and the Higgins Coatings Pty Ltd and CFMEU (WA) Union Collective Agreement 2008-2011.

FWBC Chief Executive Leigh Johns highlighted the cost-effectiveness of Enforceable Undertakings, in comparison to civil penalty action through the courts.

“Rather than taking the company to court, FWBC has reached an agreement which will get the outstanding wages and entitlements in employees’ pockets faster, and will save time and money on legal proceedings,” Mr Johns said.

“The company has also agreed to engage a qualified external auditing specialist to check their books for the entire period that the workplace agreement has been in place. The results of this audit will be provided to FWBC.

“Under the agreement, Higgins Coatings must also engage an accredited workplace trainer to brief employees about their workplace rights and responsibilities.

“Our approach achieves justice for the workers, improves the management of the enterprise and should signal to other building and construction employers that we are serious about the rule of law.”

FWBC alleges that Higgins Coatings breached its workplace agreement by failing to pay employees their correct entitlements and the FW Act and Regulations by failing to keep adequate records and payslips.

“The company has agreed to implement systems and processes designed to ensure ongoing compliance with the Fair Work Act, and to provide evidence of this to FWBC,” Mr Johns said.

“I urge all employers in the construction industry to ensure they are complying with the law and paying their workers correctly.”