Fair Work Ombudsman’s record back-payment recovery

Fair Work Ombudsman’s record back-payment recovery

The Fair Work Ombudsman (“FWO”) has announced that during 2021-22, it has recovered more than $532 million in back-paid wages and entitlements for 384,805 workers.  The amount recovered and the number of employees payments that were recovered over the period are both record numbers.    

The 2021-22 recovery is three times higher than the previous record recovery in 2020-21 and more than four times higher than that of the record recovery in 2019-20.  Large corporate employers accounted for more than half of the amount recovered, back-paying nearly $279 million to more than 267,000 employees. 

Not paying employees their lawful entitlements can result in hefty fines and penalties for companies and individuals found to have not complied with the law.   One way to mitigate the risk of the FWO commencing proceedings for underpayment of wages, is for an employer to self-report non-compliance to the FWO.  Self-reporting underpayments to the FWO is one of the factors the FWO may consider when deciding whether to commence or not to commence litigation. 

The FWO, through its Compliance and Enforcement Policy, takes a practical and proportionate approach to self-reported non-compliance.   It advises that for broad and/or potential systemic non-compliance, it is best to notify the FWO as soon as possible.

If you have discovered that your employees are being underpaid their lawful entitlements and you are not sure what to do, then contact the team at HR Law. We can assist you through the entire process including self-reporting to the FWO, appropriately informing employees of any underpayments, rectifying non-compliance and developing strategies for moving forward in the back-payment process.  

The announcement by the FWO of the record recoveries is a timely reminder for all employers that the FWO is pro-active and taking enforcement action against employers where appropriate.  HR Law is here to assist you to meet your obligations in respect of paying your staff correctly.  We can undertake a wage assessment and audit of your payroll to determine if your staff are being paid correctly or if there are any underpayments that need to be rectified.  

You can contact the team at HR Law by calling 07 3211 3350 or sending an email to: info@hrlaw.com.au

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