The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has recovered $37,754 for 23 cleaners in Colac, Victoria, who were underpaid their shift and toilet cleaning allowances.
The recovered wages makes up more than half the amount of money the FWO has recently recovered for workers employed at various locations along the Great Ocean Road and Otway region of Victoria.
Under the Cleaning Services Award 2010 the full-time, part-time and casual employees received hourly rates of up to $23.08 for ordinary hours, up to $32.31 on Saturdays, up to $41.54 on Sundays and up to $50.77 on public holidays.
According to the FWO, the employer was unaware that the cleaners were also entitled to a toilet cleaning allowance of up to $2.52 per shift to a maximum of $12.39 per week which they did not receive.
Under the Award an employee engaged for the major portion of a day cleaning toilets will be paid an allowance of 1.766 per cent of the standard rate per week or 0.359 per cent of the standard rate per shift.
The workers were also underpaid a penalty rate allowance of 15 per cent of the ordinary hourly rate for early morning shifts starting before 6am and afternoon shifts finishing after 6pm.
Inspectors have issued the business with a formal caution warning that enforcement action will be taken if further breaches occur. The employer has been placed on notice that future breaches of workplace laws will not be tolerated.
FWO Natalie James said many businesses were overconfident when it comes to the intricacies of Australia’s workplace laws and her agency will be taking an increasingly hard line with employers who cannot demonstrate that they made a diligent effort to understand their obligations.
“There has never been so much freely available information to assist employers to understand their workplace obligations. The time for excuses is over,” said James.
“We conduct follow-up audits of businesses previously found to be non-compliant to make sure they have changed their ways. Repeat offenders can expect to face enforcement action including potential litigation and significant court penalties.”