Retailer put on notice


cheque,business,pay,payslip,wageA Brisbane retailer has been cautioned and put on notice by the Fair Work Ombudsman after underpaying four chinese workers more than $180,000.

The Brisbane retailer has been put on notice that it must comply with workplace laws after it admitted underpaying four immigrant workers a total of $183,000.

The Sunnybank business has been fined $550 and issued with a letter of caution, which will be a key factor in determining whether litigation is warranted if the company comes to the attention of the Fair Work Ombudsman again.

Fair Work Ombudsman, Natalie James, says the business has avoided court proceedings because it has no history of non-compliance with workplace laws and cooperated fully with inspectors to immediately back pay the employees all outstanding entitlements.

“When we find employers who have made mistakes, our preference is always to educate them about their obligations and work with the business to resolve the issues without using formal enforcement mechanisms,” James said.

“This is an example of our fair, reasonable and proportionate response to employers who admit their mistakes, fix them immediately and put systems in place to ensure the errors are not repeated in future.”

The four staff – two men and two women of Chinese heritage – were underpaid amounts ranging from $12,000 to $80,000.

The underpayments were the result of the employees being paid a flat rate of $12 an hour for two years between 2011 and 2013.

The employees lodged complaints with the Fair Work Ombudsman after being alerted that their pay was below Australia’s National Minimum Wage.

Three of the workers spoke limited English, and the fourth acted as an interpreter when communicating with Fair Work inspectors investigating their claim.

Inspectors contacted the business and explained that it had underpaid the workers’ minimum hourly rates, as well as their penalty rates for overtime, weekend and public holiday work.

The business promptly rectified the underpayments and accepted assistance from inspectors to put processes in place to ensure future compliance.

“It is vitally important that employers take the time to ensure they are aware of the minimum pay rates applicable to their staff,” James said.

“A small mistake left over time can easily result in a hefty bill for back-payment of wages – so it is important employers get it right in the first place.”

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s website contains a range of tools and resources to assist employers to understand and meet their workplace obligations.

Online tools include PayCheck Plus and an Award Finder for employers and employees to determine the correct award and minimum wages for their industry, templates for pay-slips and time-and-wages records and a range of Best Practice Guides.

Late last year the Agency launched a dedicated webpage for small business owners at

The webpage contains free template documentation for employers to use when hiring, managing and dismissing staff, including letters of engagement and probation, leave application forms and a self audit check list.

You have 7 articles remaining. Unlock 15 free articles a month, it’s free.