FWO seeking rightful claimants to over $2.5 million in unclaimed wages

The Fair Work Ombudsman is calling on workers who suspect they were underpaid in previous jobs to check if they are entitled to a share in unclaimed wages.

The agency is currently holding over $2.5 million in trust for around 10,000 people who were underpaid in a former job but cannot be located. Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said compliance and enforcement activities regularly find underpayments of both current and former employees.

“If an employee is owed money but has left the business and can’t be located, these entitlements are held in trust until we are able to find them,” Ms Parker said. “We make extensive efforts to locate underpaid former employees, using internal investigation records, government public resources, social media and online tools.”

Since 2010, the Fair Work Ombudsman has reunited almost $2 million in unclaimed wages with over 1800 workers. In one matter, our efforts to track down a former security guard led to over $21,000 in unpaid wages and entitlements paid to the worker’s family, after it was discovered the former employee had sadly passed away. In another instance, the Fair Work Ombudsman contacted a former employee via the electoral roll to pass on over $200 in unpaid wages, while more than $6000 was returned to a former trolley collector tracked down by the regulator.

“Many workers leave their jobs without even knowing that they were underpaid so all workers should check whether they are entitled to unclaimed wages,” Ms Parker said. “With an average entitlement around $250, anyone who thinks they may have been short-changed in a former job should visit the FWO website to make a claim.”

Those who may have been owed wages may visit the Fair Work website or call the Fair Works hotline to verify if they are entitled to unclaimed wages. Those found to be eligible will be given free assistance by the FWO for the process.

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