Ombudsman urges workers to check for underpayments

Fair Work Ombudsman holds $2.7 million in unclaimed wages because underpaid workers cannot be located.


Workers who believe they may have been underpaid in a previous job are being encouraged to check whether they are entitled to a share of unclaimed wages totalling $2.7 million.

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has recovered the money for 9500 people who cannot be located.

The FWO says many may not even know they were underpaid and left the job before the shortfall in their wages was identified.

Money has been held for some employees for more than 10 years.

"When we audit a business with non-compliance issues, we often identify underpayments of current as well as former employees," ombudsman Natalie James says. 

"We make extensive efforts to locate the underpaid former employees to facilitate back-payment but when they can’t be located, the business pays the outstanding wages to the commonwealth to be held in trust."

James says more than $200 million has been recovered for more than 100,000 people since March 2006.

The FWO has set up a facility on its website to allow people to check whether or not they may be owed outstanding entitlements.

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