Companies warned on treatment of apprentices


Businesses warned to register new apprentices to avoid receiving “hefty” bills for backpay

November 23, 2009

Western Australian businesses have been reminded to register new apprentices to avoid receiving "hefty" bills for back payment of wages.

WA Fair Work Ombudsman Director Leigh Quealy says his office has encountered more than 10 cases this year involving a number of different industries where businesses have failed to lodge apprenticeship agreements for young workers.

"Only registered apprentices can be paid apprentice rates, but we are finding some employers paying at this level despite not having officially registered their workers," Quealy says.

"When inspectors come across cases where employers have been erroneously paying a worker apprentice rates for some time, the business can find itself faced with a significant underpayment.

"The employer ends up being hit with a hefty bill for back-payment of wages that was not budgeted for."

Quealy says it is not only the companies that suffer in such instances, but the apprentices too as they have to begin the formal process from the start.


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