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Operator forced to pay drivers $133k

Workplace investigation uncovers driver underpayments, forcing trucking company to fork out more than $133,000

March 1, 2010

A trucking operator has been forced to reimburse 15 of its drivers more than $133,000 after an investigation revealed they were being ripped off.

The Fair Work Ombudsman says the long distance drivers complained they were not being paid their minimum entitlements such as kilometre rates, loading and unloading allowances, annual leave loading and public holiday entitlements.

The company voluntarily paid the drivers after being notified by the Ombudsman, which does not name companies unless matters go to court.

Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says the underpayments were inadvertent and resulted from the employer’s lack of understanding of his responsibilities under the relevant award.

“Employers need to be fully aware of all the provisions in their award which affect their workers,” Campbell says.

“The Fair Work Ombudsman can assist employers to better understand and comply with workplace laws.”

Campbell says the Ombudsman does not prosecute employers for accidental breaches and prefers to work with them to increase compliance.

“However, employers need be aware that they can face fines of up to $33,000 per breach if we do take matters to court,” Campbell says.

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