Fair Work Ombudsman confirms forty percent of Canberra businesses break workplace laws

The Fair Work Ombudsman today has confirmed that lawbreaking by employers in the ACT is widespread, with 40 percent of audited businesses failing to meet their workplace legal obligations after a second warning.

The Ombudsman conducted an audit of ACT businesses over two rounds earlier in 2017. After failing the first round, forty percent of businesses audited in the second round were still breaking the law.

Breaches involved employers breaking the law by:

  • Committing wage theft by underpaying employees; and
  • Failing to provide payslips to employees and failing to keep records

The Fair Work Ombudsman recovered $31,087 in stolen wages.

The 2017 audit follows an identical audit by the Ombudsman in May 2016, where 43 percent of Canberra businesses were found to be breaking the law.

UnionsACT research from February 2017 confirms that unlawful actions by employers was widespread, particularly involving workers aged under 25 years, and migrant workers.

The following quotes are attributable to Alex White, secretary of UnionsACT:

“This is the second random audit by the Ombudsman that focused on a cross-section of Canberra businesses and it confirms that lawbreaking and wage theft is widespread in the ACT.

“No one can deny that wage theft and unlawful behaviour by employers is widespread.

“Most wage-theft occurs against young people and migrant workers.

“Not only are these unscrupulous employers preying on their staff, but they are unfairly competing with the sixty percent of businesses that do the right thing.

“If you believe you are not being paid correctly, contact your union today.”