Cleaning industry in Ombudsman’s sights in 2017

The Fair Work Ombudsman's broader pilot program of the Cleaning Accountability Framework to continue throughout 2017.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s Cleaning Accountability Framework (CAF) pilot program will continue throughout 2017, as compliance within the cleaning industry is set to remain a priority for the Ombudsman in 2017.

Throughout the year, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has worked with a number of stakeholders in the cleaning industry to develop the CAF which aims to help create a culture of compliance and reduce underpayments in the cleaning industry.

Following the launch of a pre-pilot program earlier this year, a broader scheme started on November 24.

The FWO hopes the widespread adoption of the framework will result in a reduction of underpayments in the cleaning industry and help create a culture of compliance within the industry.

[quote]“The idea of the CAF certification scheme was developed from within the cleaning industry itself,” FWO Natalie James said at the Australian Hotels Association national conference in November 2016.

“CAF recognises that in order to put the industry on a more sustainable footing, all those involved in the cleaning supply chain have to work together.[/quote]

“A property can become CAF certified once all participants in the cleaning services supply chain meet the compliance requirements. In a practical sense, if your business is certified under CAF – it gives an assurance to the businesses itself and any who engage them that they are following the rules.”

James added that the framework will continue to evolve, and that the FWO hopes it will be of broad application – to assist anyone engaging cleaning services, across the range of contexts – from commercial buildings and retail spaces, to hotels and pubs.

[quote]“It’s the owners of these properties who are playing a key role in in the running of the CAF, as representatives of the Steering Committee. Major players like AMP Capital and ISPT Super Property, along with the FWO,  union representatives and industrial associations are working together to develop a shared understanding of how issues in the industry need to be addressed.”[/quote]

Earlier this year the FWO again called on cleaning contractors to pay greater attention to wage rates after another of the agency’s national campaigns found cleaning businesses continuing to short-change their workers.

Earlier this month a cleaning company operator in Whyalla in regional South Australia was fined $1400 after failing to back-pay eight employees a total of  $7673.

It followed a record penalty handed Brisbane-based Brisclean Pty Ltd owner, Bijal Girish Sheth, of $126,540 – the highest ever secured by the FWO against an individual – after deliberately misclassifying four employees as independent contractors and underpaying them a total of $59,878 between August 2012 and December 2014.

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