Employee Rights Employment Equality Job Businessman Corporate Concept
North Queensland organisation Catalyst Child and Family Services Ltd
will back-pay workers approximately $200,000 after breaching Australia’s
The registered not-for-profit organisation has entered into a
Court-Enforceable Undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman after
self-disclosing that it had underpaid up to 200 current and former employees.
Catalyst Child and Family Services provides residential care services
for children and young people in the care of the Queensland Government’s
Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women, primarily in the Cairns and
The organisation alerted the regulator earlier this year after a review
found it had underpaid overtime rates, allowances for shift, on-call and
sleepover allowances and made errors in classifying employees since it began
operating in 2013.
The affected employees were mainly social services workers, including
care workers in youth and residential homes.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said that a Court-Enforceable
Undertaking was appropriate as the organisation had self-disclosed the
underpayments and expressed a strong commitment to back-paying workers and
overhauling workplace practices.
“Catalyst Child and Family Services has not only breached workplace
laws, it has let down committed employees that form the backbone of its
organisation and fallen short of community expectations. They must provide
evidence of having developed systems and processes to ensure future compliance,”
“The Fair Work Ombudsman will closely monitor compliance with the
Court-Enforceable Undertaking and will not hesitate to litigate if there are
breaches. This matter should serve as a warning to all organisations, including
non-for-profits, that if you don’t prioritise workplace compliance, you risk
underpaying staff on a large scale. We encourage employers to contact us for
free advice and assistance on how to comply with their lawful workplace
Under the terms of the Court-Enforceable Undertaking, Catalyst Child and
Family Services must fund a FWO-approved external auditor to quantify the
underpayments since 2013 and rectify all underpayments and superannuation
within 12 months.
The organisation must also fund three audits of payment practices over
the next two years and rectify any underpayments discovered.
Under the EU, they must also apologise to affected workers; display
public, workplace and online notices detailing its breaches and information
about employee entitlements, register with the My Account portal and complete
online courses for employers.