Book keeping error leads to $17,600 underpayment

A ‘tip-off’ late last year saw NSW Hunter Valley bus operators targeted by the FWO, netting back pay for 43 drivers

Book keeping error leads to $17,600 underpayment
Book keeping error leads to $17,600 underpayment

By David Goeldner | September 20, 2010

A book keeping error picked up by a Fair Work Ombudsman audit of a Hunter Valley bus company has seen 43 drivers back-paid a combined $17,600.

The FWO targeted five Hunter Valley bus and coach operators in December last year, finding two with clean bills of health, and another two contravening the Fair Work Act.

Of the two at fault, one company failed to maintain appropriate time-and-wages records or issue compliant payslips to its staff, Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says.

An FWO spokesman says this matter was addressed by the company and fixed.

The second company in breach of its workplace obligations was found to have underpaid its drivers through a book-keeping error.

The spokesman says once the operator was made aware of the error they fixed their mistake and the correct wages were paid.

Campbell says both businesses have since put processes in place to ensure similar breaches do not occur in future.

"We have a flexible and fair approach to dealing with these sorts of issues and our preference is always to work with employers to educate them and help them voluntarily rectify any non-compliance," he says.

A fifth company remains under investigation.

The Hunter Valley audits were in response to ‘intelligence’ that there may have been non-compliance with workplace laws in the popular wine and coal producing region of central NSW.

Of the five companies investigated, Campbell says one employer was found to have underpaid its drivers because it was paying them under an invalid collective agreement.

The FWO spokesman says the bus companies involved in the investigations can’t be named unless non-compliance leads to prosecution.

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