The Fair Work Ombudsman will audit businesses in the Blue Mountains in a program targeting at least 200 businesses across outer western Sydney.
Springwood and Katoomba will be among the regional hotspots targeted for non-compliance, with the outer western Sydney and Blue Mountains region reporting high numbers of young workers in workplace disputes.
Fair Work Inspectors will be checking businesses’ time and wage records for compliance with workplace laws. Audits will cover a cross-section of industries, including but not limited to construction, retail, manufacturing and accommodation and food services.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said that young workers are vulnerable to underpayment and poor working conditions due to their lack of experience and awareness of rights.
“Proactive campaigns are an important tool to educate employers about their workplace obligations. Inspectors will provide advice to businesses to help them comply with the law,” Ms Parker said.
“Businesses should be warned that non-compliance can lead to action ranging from formal cautions and on-the-spot fines to litigation for the most serious breaches.
“As in all our campaigns, we are keen to work closely with key stakeholders in the region in building a culture of compliance,” Ms Parker said.
Federal Member for Macquarie, Susan Templeman, said she welcomed the audits which will focus on workers’ rights and entitlements.
“Most businesses are doing the right thing in the way they employ staff. So even though it can be an inconvenience to be audited and even daunting, employers who are following the rules will have nothing to fear from the scrutiny,” she said.
“And businesses that are underpaying staff or not paying appropriate work entitlements are actually getting an unfair competitive advantage over those who are paying according to the awards.
“It’s much fairer for everyone – employers, staff and customers - if there is a level playing field,” Ms Templeman said.
“Over the years, I have had young people and their parents raise with me concerns about hourly rates and conditions their children have been offered at some workplaces in the Mountains.
“Fair Work Australia is the appropriate body to address those concerns.”