Resources to support fair pay for fair work

Library Home  >  General Early Childhood Information for EducatorsLeadership & Service Management
  Published on Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Resources to support fair pay for fair work

Library Home  >  General Early Childhood Information for EducatorsLeadership & Service Management
  Published on Tuesday, 17 April 2018

While the vast majority of early childhood operators know their legal obligations as employers and pay staff what they are owed, there are increasing reports of dodgy practitioners underpaying employees, especially young and/or vulnerable people.

The $85,000 fine imposed on the repeat offender highlighted in the article above was, according to Judge Philip Burchardt, a "sharp lesson" to make her appreciate her legal obligations.

In 2014, the same operator was penalised $19,980 for underpaying five other employees a total of more than $16,000. In handing down the penalty, Judge Burchardt said there was a need to impose a penalty that deterred continued breaches.

"A person who is the subject of a penalty finding in 2014 who continues to contravene in the fashion that the respondent did requires a sharp lesson to make her more clearly appreciate her legal obligations," he said.

As demonstrated, the financial penalties for deliberately participating in exploitative work practices and underpayment of staff are hefty. However, honest operators can also be caught out through making mistakes when calculating pay rates and entitlements.

This is even more likely now due to the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017, which has now come into effect and increases the maximum penalties for conduct including deliberate exploitation of vulnerable workers.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell says repeatedly underpaying employees is extremely serious conduct.

"The maximum penalties available for some serious conduct that occurs today or in the future are now significantly higher than the penalties available to be imposed in matters such as that above, where the contravening conduct predates the commencement of the Act," he said.

Employers and employees can access advice and assistance at Fair Work or contact the Fairwork Infoline on 13 13 94.

In addition, the Fair Work Ombudsman offers a range of online tools and resources to assist employers to determine their applicable Award, as well as classification and pay rates, allowances, overtime and penalty rates.

The Pay and Conditions Tool (PACT) also provides useful advice about pay, shift, leave and redundancy entitlements and there are templates for pay slips and time-and-wages records.

This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Thursday, 23 January 2020



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