The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has secured more than $90,000 back-pay for underpaid workers at services company Spotless as part of a collaborative initiative that has improved the company’s compliance with workplace laws, stated a 10 December press release.
The back-payments are part of a Proactive Compliance Deed negotiated between the FWO and Spotless, that involved Spotless self-auditing pay provided to more than 1,000 employees at Spotless Services Limited and Berkeley Challenge Pty Ltd to ensure they had received full entitlements.
‘The self-audit by Spotless discovered $42,544 in underpayments of 275 employees and former employees, and 21 complaints lodged with the FWO resulted in a further $49,889 in underpayments being identified, making total underpayments identified through the Deed $92,433.’
Spotless has voluntarily rectified all underpayments.
Releasing the results of the Proactive Compliance Deed today, FWO Natalie James said three systematic compliance issues, primarily relating to the Cleaning Services Award 2010, were identified at Spotless:
– Treatment of public holidays where employees worked across midnight,
– Calculation of the additional annual leave entitlement for shift workers, and
– Payment of leave loading on unused annual leave paid on termination.
‘Spotless entered into the Proactive Compliance Deed last year after the FWO received 200 complaints from employees of its companies over a six-year period resulting in back-payments of $200,000, and an investigation found hundreds of its casual employees at Paterson’s Stadium in Perth had been underpaid almost $85,000 on Anzac Day in 2009 and 2010.’
James said an important outcome of the Proactive Compliance Deed had been Spotless improving its systems and processes for complying with workplace laws. “We congratulate Spotless for showing corporate responsibility and a commitment to operating fair workplaces to its thousands of young and casual employees,” she stated.
“The Fair Work Ombudsman will continue to work with Spotless to provide advice and assistance in relation to compliance with workplace laws.”
James explained that Proactive Compliance Deeds were an important part of the FWO’s approach to ensuring compliance with workplace laws because they enabled the Agency to achieve results that were not possible through more cost-intensive, adversarial measures such as litigation.