10 January 2013FWBC recovers $20,852 in wages for 19-year-old worker paid $10 an hour

Fair Work Building & Construction (FWBC) has recovered $20,852 in unpaid wages and $1,488 in unpaid superannuation for a 19-year-old plant operator in Victoria.

FWBC Chief Executive Leigh Johns said the employer, whose Victorian branch is headquartered in Craigieburn, engaged its workforce under a registered Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA).

“Management of the Craigieburn-based civil construction company told the 19-year-old plant operator that he was being hired as a trainee, but an investigation by Fair Work Building Industry Inspectors revealed that no formal traineeship agreement was ever entered into,” Mr Johns said.

“The employer paid the man $10.29 an hour under the guise of a traineeship when they should have been paying him the EBA rate of $20.89 an hour.

“The plant operator was entitled to the EBA rate for the nine months he worked for the company because the traineeship did not exist.”

Mr Johns said the employer voluntarily back-paid the money after Fair Work Building Industry Inspectors highlighted the mistake.

“The plant operator was in a vulnerable position due to his young age and inexperience,” Mr Johns said.

“FWBC is conscious that workers in the construction industry who are susceptible to exploitation have access to relevant and easy to understand information about their workplace rights.

“We recently released a range of resources for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse workers in the industry and are planning a future campaign to help younger workers in the industry.”

For further information about your workplace rights, or to make a complaint about the underpayment of wages and entitlements, call FWBC on 1800 008 338.

*Note: FWBC is unable to identify the employer or worker.

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