Barossa businesses breaching workplace laws

22 March 2018

A Fair Work Ombudsman report has found that half of the Barossa businesses assessed by inspectors committed at least one breach of workplace laws, including failing to pay employees correctly.

A Fair Work Ombudsman report released today details site visits to more than 70 businesses in the Barossa Valley, Two Wells and Gawler districts, taking in in Nuriootpa, Williamstown, Angaston, Freeling and Lyndoch, and found half were not complying with all of their national workplace legal obligations.

The Fair Work Ombudsman found 30 per cent of businesses had not paid their employees correctly and 31 per cent had not met payslip and record-keeping requirements, issuing seven infringement notices and three formal cautions. The ombudsman recovered more
$11,438 in wages for 12 employees.

In one example, an Angaston retailer paid a casual employee $20 per hour, when their wage should have been $23.74 per hour. The Angaston business received a formal caution.

Business SA senior policy adviser Estha van der Linden said those found to be noncompliant were quick to respond to notices or cautions and amend their mistakes, with some having been unaware of their errors.

“The review demonstrated how complex workplace laws are for small businesses to navigate, particularly around pay rates, conditions and paperwork requirements, with some businesses identified in the audit as making honest mistakes,” Ms van der Linden said.

The review covered workers under awards including the private sector and clerks, road transport and distribution, electrical, electronic and communications contracting, pastoral, horticulture, retail and hospitality.

The Fair Work Ombudsman also found businesses were more likely to be compliant when they had access to workplace relations advice through an employer organisation – such as Business SA – or access to accounting, legal advice or human resources professionals.

Ms van der Linden said members were given free access to the Business SA Advice Hotline which covered issues including legislation, human resources, health and safety, pay rates and compliance, and provided consultancy services on more complex issues.

Business SA also runs regional on-site and public training sessions and provides consulting services on issues such as industrial relations, human resources, national workplace regulations and employer conditions including awards and enterprise agreements.

Business SA staff will be visiting the Barossa Valley on 10 April to host a forum on exporting and a networking session for local businesses, and staff will be available to discuss training if needed.

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