$65,000 back-pay for 19 Cairns employees

The Fair Work Ombudsman has announced that a family business in Cairns will reimburse 19 casual employees almost $65,000 after receiving advice that it has been underpaying their wages.

The business operators told the Ombudsman they were unaware of their obligations under the Fair Work Act and three separate Modern Awards.

Bransfords (Qld) Pty Ltd, which operates a Mobil service station, take-away food outlet and tackle shop at Clifton Beach, paid its staff a flat hourly rate for all hours worked.

However, depending on where in the mixed business they worked, the employees were covered by the terms and conditions of the Fast Food Industry Award, the Vehicle Manufacturing, Repair, Services and Retail Award or the General Retail Industry Award.

The employees were also unaware of their minimum lawful entitlements.

The underpayments were identified after Fair Work inspectors randomly visited the business in October 2014 and examined time and wages records. Individual amounts owed range from as little as $41 up to $8506 for the period July 1 2014 to February 23 2015.

As a result of its workplace contraventions, Bransfords has been asked to enter into an enforceable undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman. Since its involvement with the Fair Work Ombudsman, the company has also implemented new computerised payroll, rostering and record-keeping systems.

The Fair Work Ombudsman agreed to a payment plan which allowed Bransfords to reimburse all outstanding entitlements over three months.

The enforceable undertaking requires Bransfords to register and use the Fair Work Ombudsman's My Account website tool and to engage an external specialist to audit its workplace relations compliance again in 12 months.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the case is a timely reminder to all Queensland business operators of the need to ensure they take the time to understand and comply with the laws applicable to their own workplace.

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