Earlier this year, Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) Sandra Parker announced the FWO’s key priorities for 2022-23.
Looking ahead, the FWO will continue to focus on supporting workers and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as investigating and enforcing employer compliance in relation to wage entitlements and obligations to workers.
Managing Director of Akyra Strategy & Development said that, in the majority of cases, non-compliance with wages entitlements and obligations to employees is simply oversight by the employer.
She went on to say that a review of what employers are paying their employees on at least an annual basis will mitigate the chance of a Fair Work claim by an employee for non-compliance.
Fast food, restaurants and cafes
In recent years, numerous cases have highlighted problems associated with underpayment of wages in the hospitality sector; this will continue to be a major focus for the FWO.
Fair Work Ombudsman (Sandra Parker) has highlighted that ‘the FWO continues to find high levels of non-compliance in the fast food, restaurants and cafe sector, with many requests for assistance coming from vulnerable workers. She said the FWO will continue be proactive in metropolitan food precincts this year’.
Another priority for the FWO noted is the agriculture sector as it has a high reliance on visa holders who are seen to be at greater risk of exploitation in often complex labour supply chains.
A focus will be on compliance with the Horticulture Award and the changes that came into effect in April this year.
The university sector
The university sector is another focus given the recent headlines where several high-profile Australian universities have been embroiled in scandals regarding the underpayment of some employees and the violation of enterprise agreements.
The FWO has already undertaken high-level enforcement action against a number of universities this year – e.g. enforceable undertakings with the University of Newcastle and Charles Sturt University
Akyra’s key takeaways
- Over the coming year, the Fair Work Ombudsman will be focusing on identifying and addressing wage underpayments by Australian businesses and employers
- A specific focus will be placed on the hospitality, agriculture and university sectors. This does not, however, mean there will be a lack of attention in other sectors.
- Employers in all industries should ensure they are fully aware of, and compliant with their obligations to employees when it comes to the correct payment of wages
NEED MORE INFORMATION?
Akyra can help your business to assist and support all your questions and concerns related to compliance with wage obligations. Please contact Akyra on 07 3204 8830 or book a free 30-minute consultation for an obligation-free conversation.
Disclaimer – Reliance on Content
The material distributed is general information only. The information supplied is not intended to be legal or other professional advice, nor should it be relied upon as such. You should seek legal or professional advice in relation to your specific situation.
https://www.fairwork.gov.au/newsroom/media-releases/2022-media-releases/june-2022/20220622-fwo-2022-23-priorities-media-release#:~:text=Fast%20food%2C%20restaurants%20and%20cafes,assistance%20coming%20from%20vulnerable%20workers., https://www.hospitalitymagazine.com.au/melbourne-restaurant-fined-204120-for-worker-underpayment/, https://www.girardi.com.au/wage-underpayments-rife-in-hospitality-who-will-be-the-next-victim/, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jun/22/union-launches-dispute-with-deakin-university-over-payments-for-casuals#:~:text=A%20Senate%20committee%20into%20wage,underpay%20staff%20face%20criminal%20proceedings.