Ombudsman orders back-pay

A Victorian employee has been back-paid almost $4000 following an investigation into a tour operator

The Fair Work Ombudsman has found a Victorian tour company had underpaid an employee almost $4000 which has resulted in the business agreeing to revamp its workplace practices.

The employee was engaged as a casual bus driver by Melbourne-based Addictive Entertainment and Tours between June 2013 and May 2014.

The driver generally worked shifts of almost 15 hours one-to-two days per week, starting at 6.15am and finishing about 9pm, taking tourists from Melbourne on Great Ocean Road day trips.

After investigating a request for assistance from the employee, Fair Work inspectors found he had been paid a flat rate of $265 per shift.

This was not enough to cover the casual loadings and penalty rates for weekend, overtime and public holiday penalty rates he was entitled to under the Passenger Vehicle Transport Award.

The company paid what it believed was the ‘market rate’ – but was co-operative when Fair Work inspectors explained its obligations under the Award.

The operator back-paid the employee $3935 in late October.

The company has now signed an Enforceable Undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman and given a commitment to ensure its future compliance with workplace laws.

It will arrange workplace relations training, self-auditing of employee wages and entitlements and register with the Fair Work Ombudsman’s online self-help tool, My Account.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says Enforceable Undertakings are one of a number of ways her Agency is encouraging voluntary compliance with federal workplace laws.

"We use Enforceable Undertakings where we have formed a view that a breach of the law has occurred, but where the employer has acknowledged this and accepted responsibility and agreed to co-operate with us and fix the problem," she says.

"Many of the initiatives in EUs help to build a greater understanding of workplace responsibilities, motivate the company to do the right thing and help them avoid the same mistakes again.

"We know workplace laws can be complicated for the uninitiated, and for those who are not industrial experts, but we ask small business to use the tools and resources that we provide for them and inform themselves. 

"In return, you will be able to act with confidence. This protects you. It means that if a problem arises down the track, you can demonstrate your intention to do the right thing."

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