Employers categorically oppose underpayment. The law is the law. We need to get this right

Thursday 16 August, 2018 | By: Dan Petrie

CCIQ takes over 700 calls every month from employers across Queensland and provides advice on how much they need to pay. 

Australia already has one of the very best resourced and most professional inspectorates in the world, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).

Underpayment claims are not increasing. Data from the FWO shows its work is broadly stable, not rising:

 

$ Recovered

For # Employees

2016-17

$30.6m

17.000+

2015-16

$27.3m

11,158

2014-15

$22.3m

11,613

2013-14

$23m 

15,483

2012-13

$24m

17,434

2011-12

$39m

18,497

2010-11

$26m

17,360

 

This level of underpayment is unacceptable. However, it also shows the existing system is working in exposing underpayments and taking action.

Potential fines went up tenfold (x10!) in September last year – following the 7-Eleven scandal.

An employer who knowingly underpays their people already risks losing both their home and their business. 

It is ridiculously premature for unions to claim this will not help reduce underpayment – Parliament listened and acted just 7 months ago - unions seem to want to ignore that. Let the most recent new penalties do their work before declaring rules need to change. 

Australia has the most complicated minimum wage arrangements in the world, and some of the highest minimum wages. It is too easy to get things wrong, and small business people do struggle when wages are set at Sydney and Melbourne levels. This is not an excuse for underpaying anybody, but it underscores the importance of up-to-date, specialist information. Common sense and a fair go will not get you through in this area, nor will asking what the business next door pays – you need specialist advice for each business / role. 

CCIQ’s Employer Assistance Line is an advice hotline only staffed by experienced HR advisors. We’ll talk you through concerns such as payment, employee counselling, redundancy, union activity, leave entitlements, and general workplace health and safety.  

We help small business people get this right. The best insurance is joining CCIQ and taking the right advice on what to pay.