FWO launches surprise audits in Melbourne

Fair Work inspectors uncovered workplace violations in 22 businesses

FWO launches surprise audits in Melbourne

Workers in Melbourne have recovered nearly $40,000 in back-pay after the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) launched a series of surprise inspections at small and midsize businesses.

Close to a hundred workers at 14 establishments were found to be missing $39,362 in wages as a result of employers’ violations.

Inspectors made the rounds within Melbourne’s central business district and in the suburbs of Balwyn, Carlton, North Melbourne and Port Melbourne.

The FWO, together with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), visited a total of 48 businesses – in industries ranging from food, rental and hiring services to construction and real estate – which were helmed by first-time directors.

“During our surprise visits of several Melbourne workplaces, we were alarmed to discover that many first-time company directors were not aware of their lawful obligations under Australia’s workplace relations laws,” FWO Sandra Parker said.

While 26 organisations were found to be fully compliant, the audit discovered:

  • 6 businesses with pay slip and record-keeping contraventions;
  • 9 – with monetary contraventions;
  • 7 – with both pay slip and record-keeping as well as monetary contraventions

Two formal cautions were issued while eight infringement notices, imposing penalties of more than $7,000, were handed down to employers with pay slip and record-keeping violations.

On the other hand, a compliance notice was issued against a restaurant business that purportedly owed 14 workers more than $5,300.

The establishments agreed to pay their dues, but errant businesses may also be subjected to another audit in the future.

“If you are new to running a business, it is your responsibility to ensure you understand your workplace obligations before you hire any employees,” the ombudsman said. “The Fair Work Ombudsman has a range of free tools and resources available to help directors get the basics right as quickly as possible. Any directors with concerns should contact us before we visit their business.”

The ASIC is also offering educational resources to directors.

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