Industry Update

QLD audit serves as reminder that EBA side deals can be costly

A Brisbane subcontractor faces forking out $100,000 in back-payments after Fair Work Building Industry Inspectors found it underpaid up to 40 workers.

The underpayment occurred because the subcontractor was allegedly paying its staff who worked on projects in regional areas according to the Modern Award, rather than the relevant Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) that covered the employees.

In an Industry Update article back in October, FWBC alerted employers to the risks involved in operating under such ‘side deals’.

Side deals are unregistered and informal agreements, which may contain any manner of conditions or terms, attached to an EBA. Side deals are unenforceable.

Fair Work Building Industry Inspectors conducted audits of 41 companies in Queensland between October 2012 and May 2013 as a result of industry complaints about side deals.

No employer wants to find themselves in the position of having to back-pay tens of thousands of dollars.

Employers who are confused about their obligations under their EBA or the validity of side deals should contact FWBC on 1800 003 338 or go to

The PayCheck Plus tool on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website may also be useful. PayCheck Plus enables employers and workers to stay up-to-date and informed about employee entitlements and calculate minimum rates of pay, allowances, penalty rates and overtime.

Further information

FWBC website – Pay and conditions

PayCheck Plus

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