EBAs on watchdog's radar during WA trip


Ombudsman is auditing up to 30 employers throughout Western Australia as part of a campaign focussing on enterprise agreements

September 13, 2013

The Fair Work Ombudsman is auditing up to 30 employers throughout Western Australia as part of a campaign focussing on businesses that employ staff under enterprise agreements.

Inspectors will check that businesses are paying employees at least their minimum base rate of pay, maintaining appropriate employment records and issuing pay slips.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the results of other recent campaigns showed some employers using enterprise agreements were not fully aware of their pay obligations under workplace laws.

"Campaigns in the traffic control and fuel retailing industries found that some employers were underpaying base hourly rates, and we believe this issue may be more widespread," James says.

"Employers need to ensure their employees are paid at least the base hourly rate in the modern award that applies to their workplace, or the national minimum wage if their workplace is award-free, even if the minimum rate listed in the enterprise agreement is lower.

"Most enterprise agreements apply for between three and five years and minimum wages listed in them can become out-dated as a result of annual increases to the minimum wage. So employers need to actively ensure they are paying correct rates."

The campaign will focus on WA businesses because the State has historically had a higher than average number of enterprise agreements.

Inspectors will audit employers at locations including Perth, Augusta, Bunbury, Collie, Harvey, Katanning, Mandurah and Newman.

James says the campaign provides an opportunity for employers to improve their understanding of, and compliance with, workplace laws.

"If inspectors find contraventions, their preference will be to assist employers to voluntarily rectify the issues and put systems in place to ensure they get it right in the future," she says.

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