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April 14, 2024

North coast bottle shops underpaid workers

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Protest this 

Remember Bentley, near Lismore, in 2014? Do you know what happened at Terania Creek, again near Lismore, or the Franklin River in Tasmania?

Two north coast bottle shops have been caught out underpaying workers after a compliance action conducted by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Together the two shops were found to have underpaid staff by a total of $1366.

The offending bottle shops were not named by the Ombudsman.

During the statewide campaign, most of the total of $107,406 in underpayments were for amounts less than $1500.

But several individual businesses were required to top up staff pay by sums of more than $10,000.

Just eight stores were audited in our region during the action, so the problem could be more widespread.

According to the Ombudsman, Natalie James, liquor store owners are often unaware that they are required to pay awards and penalties under the General Retail Industry Award 2010.

Inspectors worked with the shop owners to establish their obligations under the Award and the Fair Work Act.

‘The receptive attitude by most employers was encouraging, and all contraventions were voluntarily rectified,’ the report notes.

Ms James says that when contraventions were identified, most employers were quick to rectify the issues and accepted assistance to put processes in place to ensure they were not repeated.

‘Small businesses often don’t have the benefit of in-house human resources and payroll staff, so we place a high priority on assisting them and developing tools and resources to make it easier for them to comply with workplace law,’ she said.

Small business employers seeking assistance with understanding their obligations can go to http://www.fairwork.gov.au/smallbusiness, where there is a range of resources on topics such as employing staff, resolving workplace disputes and managing employees.

Employers and employees seeking further information and advice should visit the website or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. A free interpreter service is also available on 13 14 50.

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  1. I suspect that many bottle shops are franchises with hours and hiring the responsibility of the franchisee. Pressure to make more profit inevitably means screwing employees along with longer trading hours. The latter contributes to social problems and the former destroys the relationship with the staff to the customer’s disadvantage. I suspect many franchisees quit and run with their ill-gotten gains.


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