August 2013 Industry Update

FWBC report finds misunderstanding most common reason for underpayments

FWBC has just released our report into the National Record-Keeping, Payslip and Base Ordinary Wage Audit.

The audit, which we covered in the March edition of Industry Update, ran from February to May this year. Fair Work Building Industry Inspectors audited 413 employers to ensure they were paying their workers correctly, issuing pay slips and keeping adequate employment records.

The audit resulted the discovery that 407 employees had been underpaid a total of $241,994. It also found 70 monetary and 88 non-monetary contraventions of workplace laws.

We found that underpayments had primarily occurred because the employer:

  • referred to the wrong Modern Award or was paying rates below that outlined in the Modern Award;
  • consulted the Modern Award instead of the relevant Enterprise Agreement and/or
  • hadn’t paid adequate allowances such as overtime, loading and meals.

FWBC Director Val Gostencnik said most employers had a good understanding of their obligations and were cooperative with inspectors.

“Any business owners who are not sure which award or agreement applies when paying staff, or unclear of any of their other wages and entitlements obligations should always make contact with FWBC,” Mr Gostencnik said.

“Our inspectors are always willing to provide guidance. Clearing things up in advance could save building and construction businesses tens of thousands of dollars in back-payments.

“The FWBC website also features educative resources about employers’ obligations and templates to assist employers to manager their business.”

Further information

Report – FWBC National Targeted Audit: Record-keeping, Payslip and Base Ordinary Wage

FWBC Hotline – 1800 003 338

FWBC website - Templates

FWBC website – Pay and Conditions

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