Ombudsman spruiks small-business fair work advice service

Fair work

The FWO reminds SME owners that they have access to a dedicated small-business fair work advice helpline to check they’re meeting minimum wage requirements

The Fair Work Ombudsman are reminding SME owners that they have a helpline dedicated to small-business fair work advice, helping them ensure they do not inadvertently fall foul of minimum wage regulations.

This comes in light of yet another case they have dealt with of an employee contacting them because they were paid less than they were entitled to over a number of years.

The Victorian security company has been put on notice after it short-changed a Ballarat employee almost $30,000 over four years, with the shortfalls occurring across all the elements of his remuneration – normal hourly rate, casual loadings, shift allowances, weekend and public holiday penalty rates and overtime rates.

Because the company co-operated with inspectors and has back-paid the worker in full, it avoided enforcement action, though it has received a Letter of Caution from the FWO.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says, ‘When we find employers who have made mistakes, our preference is always to educate them about their obligations and work with the business to resolve the issues outside of the Courts.’

Ms James says it is vitally important employers ensure they are aware of the minimum wage rates applicable to their workplace, including penalty rates.

‘A small mistake left over time can easily result in a hefty bill for back-payment of wages – so it is important employers get it right in the first place,’ she says.

Employers who have any uncertainty about whether their workplace practices are appropriate can visit or phone the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for advice. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Small businesses can opt to be put through to the small-business fair work advice helpline, which has assisted more than 250,000 callers since it was established.

Tools and resources available on the website include templates for time-and-wages records, an online learning centre and a Pay and Conditions Tool (PACT) that provides advice about pay, shift, leave and redundancy entitlements.