Fair Work Ombudsman says most breaches are accidental


A measured approach from the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has led 19 truck drivers in the NSW Riverina back-paid a total of $24,600 without the need for prosecution, the organisation says today. <br /><br /> The drivers were found to have been underpaid their allowances − including for loading and unloading − over an 18-month period. When inspectors contacted the business and explained its obligations, the truck drivers were each reimbursed amounts between $200 and $3350, the organisation says.

By Rob McKay | September 23, 2011

A measured approach from the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has led 19 truck drivers in the NSW Riverina back-paid a total of $24,600 without the need for prosecution, the organisation says today.

The drivers were found to have been underpaid their allowances - including for loading and unloading - over an 18-month period.

When inspectors contacted the business and explained its obligations, the truck drivers were each reimbursed amounts between $200 and $3350, the organisation says.

The employer in question has now corrected the errors that led to the underpayments and put processes in place to ensure they will not happen again.

"We recognise that accidental breaches of workplace laws do occur and it is always our preference to work with employers to have them voluntarily rectify any contraventions," Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson says.

A spokesman tells ATN that, in the vast majority of cases in the transport industry, the issue was ignorance of the Award, rather than willful disregard on the part of the employer.

In such cases, inspectors would seek to "bring some mediation into the process" rather than engaging in further investigation or resorting to litigation.

"That’s the case in probably 99 percent of our complaints," the spokesman says.

"These people simply did not know, weren’t aware of it - an inadvertent mistake that we point out [to them]."

This was why the FWO chose not to identify the company involved or where it was based.

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