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Over $430,000 recovered for Geelong workers

The FWO has recovered $431,875 in wages for 487 underpaid workers.
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Over $430,000 recovered for Geelong workers

Over $430,000 recovered for Geelong workers

21 August 2020

The Fair Work Ombudsman has recovered $431,875 in wages for 487 underpaid workers after conducting surprise audits in the Geelong area as part of its series of regional university cities proactive investigations.

The FWO commenced the audits as part of a program of intelligence-led activity targeting high risk sectors, such as the takeaway food, restaurant, cafe and retail sectors, which commonly rely on vulnerable young workers such as university students. In the Geelong area, businesses were selected in suburbs close to tertiary institutions because FWO’s intelligence, such as anonymous reports, suggested they may have breached workplace laws.

Fair Work Inspectors investigated 132 businesses in the period prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and found 77 per cent of businesses (102) failed to comply with workplace laws. Of those businesses in breach, more than half (52 per cent) both underpaid staff and breached pay slip or record-keeping obligations.

The most common breaches identified were failures to correctly pay penalty rates, followed by underpayments of the minimum hourly wage.

The most common reason given for non-compliance was a lack of awareness of workplace obligations (55 per cent). Wage back-payments by businesses ranged from $3 up to $52,558.

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