Child care centre workers welcome backpay
CHILD care centres dotting regional Queensland are in the sights of the Fair Work Ombudsman, after almost 400 complaints from workers forced employers to pay back $255,000 in wages.
The 100 centres state-wide facing inspections include those in Bundaberg, Caboolture, Gold Coast, Gympie, Ipswich, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Toowoomba.
The goal of the Fair Work Ombudsman's latest campaign is to ensure centres know the law around wages and record-keeping and do not fall foul of staff.
Ombudsman Natalie James said child care was a major industry in Australia, with about 140,000 workers, 96% of whom were female and about 25% were under 24.
"We are mindful that this is an industry which employs large numbers of young people who can be considered vulnerable in the workplace," she said.
"They may not be fully aware of their entitlements or where to go for information and advice."
On Wednesday, the Ombudsman revealed that Queensland workers had to be backpaid $97,600 after businesses in Mackay, Capella, Rockhampton, Toowoomba, Palmwoods on the Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg and Hervey Bay faced complaints from staff.
Each volunteered to pay the arrears.
In a separate case, a Rockhampton car rental firm was fined $92,664 after underpaying a worker for five years
Although the majority of offenders were outside Brisbane, Ms James said there was no evidence to suggest regional businesses were breaking the rules more often.
In most cases, she said, it was a simple mistake.
"That could be due to a clerical oversight or because they've done what they thought was the right thing without checking," she said.
"We usually find the majority of employers are only too willing to make things right when we discover a mistake has been made, which is great to see."