Melbourne long-haul operator faces FWO scrutiny

Issues relate to kilometre rate, rest break allowance and annual leave payout

Melbourne long-haul operator faces FWO scrutiny
The FWO is pursuing its fourth transport case this year


The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is taking Melbourne-based Sapphire Freighters to court for alleged Award and Fair Work Act breaches.

This marks the fourth FWO transport-related payment case in 2020, with the Federal Circuit Court to hear the case against the long-distance trucking business that transports goods between Melbourne and Brisbane.

FWO alleges Sapphire Freighters breached the Fair Work Act by failing to comply with a compliance notice issued in 2019 requiring it to calculate and back-pay entitlements owed to a truck driver work completed between December 2016 and January 2018.

It says investigated the business after it failed to engage with the watchdog’s mediation request in response to an enquiry from the truck driver.

FWO alleges Sapphire Freighters paid a rate of pay per kilometre that was less than required under the Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award 2010, failed to pay an allowance to compensate the employee for taking rest breaks away from home, and breached the Fair Work Act by failing to pay out accrued annual leave on termination of the driver’s employment.

A Gold Coast operator was the FWO's most recent target

"It is disappointing that the business did not take up our offer to resolve the matter voluntarily through mediation, however we are committed to taking action to ensure entitlements are paid," Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker says.

"We encourage any workers with concerns about their pay and entitlements to contact us for assistance."

The FWO is seeking penalties against Sapphire Freighters – amounting to a maximum $31,500 – and a court order requiring the business to calculate and rectify all owed entitlements in full, plus superannuation.


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