Driver pay warning as watchdog comes to town

Trucking operators warned to ensure they're paying drivers correctly, as the Fair Work Ombudsman begins compliance blitz

By Brad Gardner | September 3, 2010

Trucking operators are being warned to ensure they are paying drivers correctly, as the Fair Work Ombudsman begins a compliance blitz in regional Victoria.

The watchdog will target companies between September 2010 and February 2011 as a follow-up to an educational campaign designed to outline employer obligations under the Fair Work Act.

A statement from the Ombudsman says inspectors will audit compliance with employee records and pay slips and might also look at pay rates, penalty loadings and meal breaks.

"Given the fact the FWO is about to commence a targeted campaign across the transport industry in regional Victoria…it is imperative that you comply with relevant awards and also with any requests lawfully made by FWO Inspectors," the Victorian Transport Association says in a written statement to operators.

The Fair Work Ombudsman says it can seek maximum penalties of $33,000 for each workplace offence.

The campaign follows the recent prosecution of Ron Priddle Transport, which was found guilty of underpaying an employee $5300 between January 2007 and January 2008.

As well as slapping the company with a $25,000 fine, the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court fined owner Ron Priddle $5000. Priddle was ordered to pay back the money owed with interest.

The driver was not paid for loading and unloading, living away from home, annual leave entitlements and superannuation.

Priddle was taken to court by after failing to grant the Fair Work Ombudsman access to the driver’s employment records. Under workplace laws, employers must provide records if requested.

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