Fair Work Ombudsman praises Wide Bay growers

December 12, 2022 7:27 am in by
AAP Image/Supplied by Anderson Horticulture

Local farmers and labour hire firms are being commended for their high compliance with record-keeping laws.

The Fair Work Ombudsman began a blitz last December targeting farms where intelligence suggests pay breaches could be happening.

Employers in three states have been fined a total of $78,000.

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Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker says employers are expected to apply the rules correctly.

“Record-keeping is the bedrock of compliance. Employers who fail to meet these obligations are more likely to be underpaying, whether intentionally or not. It is concerning that Inspectors have needed to issue close to $80,000 in fines to employers who breached payslip and records laws,” Ms Parker says.

However, it’s a different story in the Wide Bay.

Since the beginning of the probe, 36 investigations have been finalised only finding one breach which was a minor pay slip error.

Ms Parker says agriculture employers who had taken the effort to understand their new obligations since the 28 April 2022 changes to the Horticulture Award, and put in place systems to stay compliant, had been eager to demonstrate their management solutions when inspectors came checking.

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“We were pleased to see that some farmers have used technology to make it easier to pay their workers correctly under the award changes. We commend those who do the right thing and hope other farmers are encouraged by these practical methods to ensure compliance,” Ms Parker says.

“Compliance levels so far have been high in the regions of Moreton Bay and Wide Bay in Queensland, and we expect employers in other states to similarly meet all their obligations to their workers, including by investing in their time-and-pay systems.”

Inspections will continue in 2023 with investigations into eight local employers still active.