Housekeepers cleaning rooms at Four Points by Sheraton, Darling Harbour (Sydney) will have their pay packets reviewed after an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) found they are being underpaid.
According to a 5 March FWO media release, the housekeepers are mostly young Asian workers in Australia as international students or backpackers on the 417 working holiday visa.
‘Four Points by Sheraton does not directly employ the cleaners, instead contracting out its housekeeping services to a company called International Hotel Services Pty Ltd.
‘International Hotel Services subsequently sub-contracts to a third company, ATM Cleaning Management Pty Ltd, based at Strathfield,’ noted the FWO.
The FWO began investigating ATM in August last year as part of a broader inquiry it is conducting into the wages and entitlements of cleaners at four and five-star hotels throughout Australia.
‘Fair Work inspectors discovered that ATM has been underpaying 45 housekeepers from its 65-strong workforce. They were underpaid their minimum hourly rates, casual loadings and correct penalty rates for weekend, public holiday and shift work.
‘ATM was also making unlawful deductions from the wages of some employees for misdemeanors such as misplacing their nametags – and unlawfully deducting two weeks’ wages if six months of service was not completed.
‘The company should have been paying staff under the terms and conditions of the Cleaning Services Award 2010, but was incorrectly applying the Hospitality (General) Award 2010,’ the FWO stated.
ATM sole director Cho Rok Jun and the company’s general manager Micky An have struck an agreement with the Fair Work Ombudsman to review the pay packets of all employees dating back to June 1 last year – and then pro-actively back-pay all outstanding wages and entitlements and reimburse employees who had money deducted from their wages unlawfully.
They have co-operated fully with the FWO investigation and agreed to sign an Enforceable Undertaking (EU). In addition to the back payment plan, the agreement requires ATM to:
- Apologise in writing to all employees,
- Undertake workplace relations training on human resources, recruitment/termination procedures and payroll functions,
- Create proper employment records for all employees,
- Ensure all new employees receive the Fair Work Information Statement,
- Register with the Fair Work Ombudsman’s My Account Portal,
- Engage independent auditors to monitor compliance with workplace laws in 2016 and again in 2017, and
- Make a $2000 donation to the Cleaning Accountability Framework to promote compliance with workplace laws.