Get payment processes right, FWO urges

Ombudsman tells businesses to understand what entitlements employees should receive after trio of truck drivers is underpaid more than $37,000

May 27, 2013

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has again urged businesses to make sure they have correct payment processes in place after a trio of truck drivers was underpaid more than $37,000.

The South Australian drivers, all working for separate companies, did not receive correct entitlements ranging from leave to overtime rates and allowances, leaving their companies with significant back-payments.

The underpayments were discovered as part of an FWO campaign targeting Adelaide and regional South Australia.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell says the breaches were due to employers not being fully aware of what their employees were entitled to.
He says businesses need to know what modern award or agreement, classifications and minimum rates apply to their workers.

"If small errors in wages and entitlements are left unchecked, they can mount up and result in employers needing to make significant back-payments of thousands of dollars. This is why it’s important that employers ensure they get it right the first time around," he says.

A Regency Park truck driver was back-paid $19,500 after being underpaid wages in 2010-2011, as well as annual and long service leave entitlements upon termination of employment.

The FWO recovered $9,800 for a truck driver at Mount Gambier not paid for time spent loading and unloading his vehicle and underpaid wages, allowances and annual leave entitlements over an 11-month period in 2009-2010.

Another $8,400 was recovered for a truck driver at Mount Barker who was underpaid overtime rates, public holiday pay, annual leave entitlements and allowances in 2010-2011.

The businesses cooperated with FWO inspectors to correct the errors and put processes in place to ensure they would not happen again.

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