Underpaid Commonwealth Games security guards compensated

10 security guards from the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games have received more than $24,000 in unpaid wages, following a Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) audit of security providers for the event.

The FWO conducted the audits in response to requests for assistance from security guards who were concerned about receiving their correct pay and entitlements.

Security arrangements for the Commonwealth Games were contracted out by the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation to four principal providers who in turn used sub-contractors to provide security for the 11-day event. This formed what is known as a labour supply chain.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the FWO audited nine employers providing security services to the games, including principal providers and sub-contractors, and found none were compliant with workplace laws.

“The consistent issue we discovered was guards not being paid until well after they had completed their shifts. In some instances, guards had to wait months to get paid properly. This was a breach of employers’ obligations under the Fair Work Act to pay their employees on time,” Ms Parker said.

“The delays were caused by shortcomings in the electronic record keeping system used to record work hours, which meant guards’ shifts had to be manually reconciled before they could be paid.”

The FWO also found two security providers failed to properly pay overtime, weekend and public holiday penalty rates, which led to the underpayments for ten guards. Three of the audited security providers also did not keep proper employment records or provide correct pay slips.

In addition to recovering lost wages for affected guards, the FWO issued: four Infringement Notices, totalling $12,600 in penalties for record-keeping and pay slip breaches; contravention letters to all the audited businesses that required them to take action to rectify their non-compliance; and one Formal Caution, putting a security provider on notice about possible legal action for any future breaches.

“Large-scale events can provide challenges for some businesses to ensure they are properly meeting their lawful workplace obligations. It’s vital they recognise and plan around this complexity to ensure their staff are paid in full and on time,” Ms Parker said.

“Ensuring workers in labour supply chains get their correct pay and entitlements is a priority area for the FWO and businesses can expect more compliance and enforcement action in this area.”

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