The Fair Work Ombudsman has announced a new national campaign focusing on construction businesses.
Up to 700 construction businesses in every capital city and some regional areas will be randomly selected for auditing. Both residential and commercial builders, as well as electricians, plumbers, painters, decorators, tilers, carpenters, bricklayers, concreters, landscapers and plasterers, are included in the campaign. Some employers who have previously come to the attention of the Fair Work Ombudsman will also be included.
Fair Work inspectors will check that employers are paying the correct minimum hourly rates, penalty and overtime rates and allowances, as well as complying with record-keeping and pay slip obligations and other workplace laws. The campaign also aims to ensure that the wages and conditions of apprentices are being upheld.
Inspectors can issue on-the-spot fines of up to $2550. Companies can be penalised up to $51,000 per contravention and individuals up to $10,200 per contravention in serious cases that warrant legal action.
The Fair Work Ombudsman last year received more than 2000 complaints and identified workplace contraventions in about 50 per cent of cases.
Deputy Fair Work Ombudsman (Operations) Michael Campbell hopes the pro-active campaign will help improve compliance and drive behavioural change.
“While our focus is on ensuring employees receive their lawful wages and entitlements, we want to understand the underlying causes of non-compliance in the construction industry,” Mr Campbell said. “Where we find problems, we will endeavour to identify the cause. This will help to inform our compliance and education efforts in the future.”
He added that Fair Work inspectors will work to assist any employers found to have workplace contraventions, but warned that enforcement measures would be considered in cases of serious, or repeat contraventions, or where employers refuse to co-operate.
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