Up to 160 independent and franchisee-operated retail bakeries throughout Victoria have been targeted by the Fair Work Ombudsman, as part of its latest campaign to ensure workers are being correctly paid.
As part of the audit, which wrapped up in November, inspectors checked employers were maintaining appropriate records and providing employees with pay slips.
Fair Work ombudsman Natalie James said the retail bakery sector was selected because it had been a, “persistent source of complaints across Victoria”, including a number of complaints from young workers.
“We are conscious this industry employs a significant number of young workers, often as apprentices and who might be working their first job. They can be vulnerable to exploitation because they’re often not aware of their workplace entitlements or where to go for information and assistance,” she said.
“It’s the job of the Fair Work ombudsman to make sure these workers are getting what they’re entitled to.”
The ombudsman also said it’s important staff receive an official pay slip within 24 hours of being paid.
Apart from being a legal requirement, it allows employees to check for themselves that they’ve been paid the correct rates for all hours worked,” she said.
Fair Work has acknowledged a key focus of the campaign was to ensure bakery owners understand their obligations under the Fair Work Commission consolidated modern award, General Retail Industry Award 2010.
“Where Fair Work Inspectors identify issues such as underpayments to staff, they’ll work with the employer to help them voluntarily rectify underpayments and direct them to free resources at www.fairwork.gov.au, which can help them meet their obligations in the future,” the ombudsman said.
“A key role of the Fair Work Ombudsman is to help employers understand and meet their obligationsand that’s what we’ll be doing throughout this campaign.”
Information about the campaign, as well as templates for pay slips and time-and-wages sheets, is available at the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website.
A full report, detailing the findings of the audit, will be released in March 2014.