Ombudsman secures back-pay for truckies

Two Melbourne truck drivers receive combined compensation of more than $20,000 after workplace inspector reveals employer underpayments

December 2, 2010

Two Melbourne truck drivers have received combined compensation of more than $20,000 after the workplace inspector revealed employer underpayments.

During visits to workplaces, the Fair Work Ombudsman found a Bayswater North truck driver was not paid overtime or wages in lieu of notice.

The employer voluntarily agreed to reimburse the driver $14,500 for the underpayments, while a separate company paid $6400 to a Hastings truck driver who did not receive the minimum hourly rate or penalty rates.

The payments were part of a blitz by the Ombudsman that netted close to $400,000 for workers from a variety of sectors. The biggest recovery was $28,900 for a car park attendant in South Yarra who was underpaid penalty rates and allowances.

Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says no legal action will be taken against the companies because they voluntarily reimbursed the workers.
"In most cases, the Fair Work Ombudsman does not prosecute employers for inadvertent breaches of workplace laws," he says.

"We have a flexible, fair approach and our preference is always to work with employers to educate them and help them voluntarily rectify any non-compliance issues we identify."

During the visits, the Ombudsman cited underpayment of workers’ minimum hourly rates and penalty rates as the most common breaches. It also found employees were not paid for all hours worked and that some did not receive full entitlements on termination.

Campbell says employers need to regularly review awards or agreements to ensure they understand their obligations to their workers.

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