Cleaners in Melbourne’s north-west suburbs will be reimbursed more than $50,000 after an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) found 16 of them had been underpaid, stated a 5 June press release.
‘The employees were short-changed amounts ranging from $135 to $8668 in the 12 months to September last year. They were paid a flat hourly rate, which did not meet the minimum provisions of the Cleaning Services Award 2010.’
The FWO discovered the underpayments when it audited employer, Jorgensen Property Services Pty Ltd, as part of a national cleaning services pro-active compliance and education campaign.
According to the FWO, the company employed 14 casual and two part-time employees who were not receiving the minimum rate of pay, penalty rates for weekend and public holidays or overtime.
‘Almost half the cleaners were found to have been underpaid more than $2000 over the 12-month period, with some owed amounts totalling $7511, $6944, $6297, $5082, $2800 and $2581.’
Jorgensen Property Services Pty Ltd co-operated with the FWO during its investigation and agreed to repay all outstanding entitlements under an instalment plan.
‘As part of an Enforceable Undertaking it has signed with the FWO, Jorgensen has also agreed to take all reasonable steps to ensure it meets its workplace obligations in future. The company will also write to the affected employees expressing its sincere regret for the contraventions and apologising for its conduct,’ stated the release.
Enforceable Undertakings were introduced by legislation in 2009 and ‘the FWO has been using them to achieve strong outcomes against companies that breach workplace laws without civil court proceedings’.
“Their purpose is to focus the employer on the tasks to be carried out to remedy the alleged contravention and/or prevent a similar contravention in the future,” Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said.
“Many of the initiatives included in Enforceable Undertakings – like compulsory training sessions – help to build a greater understanding of workplace responsibilities, motivate the company to do the right thing and help them avoid the same mistakes again.”