Western Australia Minister for Commerce Bill Marmion
$1.18 Million Recovered In Unpaid Entitlements
Victor P Taffa
The State Government has recovered $1.18 Million in unpaid worker entitlements in the last financial year.
The Department of Commerce’s Labour Relations Division identified the majority of the underpayments ($816,000) during 493 investigations into employee complaints that they had not been paid correctly under State employment laws.
The individual underpayments varied from a few hundred dollars up to $30,000. While the hospitality and retail sectors were prominent industries where underpayments were identified, the highest number of complaints was for breaches of the State’s Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993.
Commerce Minister Bill Marmion said the Act set minimum employee entitlements across all industries.
“Any breach of such minimum entitlements is of great concern.” Mr. Marmion said.
“Overwhelmingly, we find that a lack of understanding is the major contributing factor to employers underpaying their staff. However, unfortunately we do find that some employers deliberately underpay their staff.”
The department also finalised prosecutions against seven employers for breaching State employment laws, which led to the recovery of a further $47,000 in underpayments.
In March 2010, the Industrial Magistrates Court fined a trolley collecting service $1,950 for underpaying two employees and ordered back pay totalling $5,062.
In another matter, the Industrial Magistrate’s Court ordered an accounting firm to back pay an employee $7,113 for failing to pay a long service leave entitlement.
“The employers concerned all could have avoided prosecution if they had made a free five minute telephone call to Wageline on their employment law obligations.” the Minister said.
“I urge all employers to contact Wageline on 1300 655 266 to ensure they are paying their staff correctly.” Mr. Marmion said.