The Fair Work Ombudsman today released the results of its audits of hundreds of pharmacies throughout Queensland.
The targeted campaign began in May last year to assess levels of compliance with pay rates, minimum hours of engagement, meal break entitlements, record keeping and pay slip requirements.
Fair Work inspectors scrutinised the records of 575 employers across the State to ensure they understood their obligations under the Pharmacy Industry Award 2010.
A total of 320 (56 per cent) were found to be fully compliant.
Inspectors identified a total of 298 contraventions at the remaining 255 businesses, 66 per cent related to underpayment of wages, 25 per cent to pay-slip and time and wage breaches and seven per cent to allowances.
As a result, a total of $194,905 in entitlements was recouped for 1334 employees
who had been inadvertently underpaid.
Amounts recovered for individuals ranged between $3.79 and $11,639.
A total of $64,737 was recovered for 656 employees working for pharmacies in Brisbane South and on the Gold Coast.
Central Queensland pharmacies paid back $44,472 to 279 staff; South-West Queensland employers returned $32,783 to 149 employees; North Queensland businesses repaid $28,296 to 130 staff and pharmacies in Brisbane North back-paid $24,617 to 120 workers.
Analysis of the campaign results reveals that the lowest levels of contravention were found in Brisbane north (30 per cent) and the highest contravention levels were recorded in North Queensland (80 per cent).
Fair Work inspectors also reported the use of what appeared to be a “standardised” or template-driven Individual Flexibility Arrangement, raising questions about whether they were produced following genuine negotiation between the parties.
The Fair Work Ombudsman intends to meet with key stakeholders to discuss its findings and the need for ongoing education after many employers reported they were unaware of their workplace obligations, yet had not sought advice or assistance to ensure their compliance.
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s website – www.fairwork.gov.au – has a number of tools and resources, including PayCheck Plus and an Award Finder, to assist business-owners calculate the correct pay for their employees.
PayCheck Plus calculates minimum rates of pay per hour, per shift or per week and takes account of payments for overtime, penalty rates and allowances.
Workers or employers seeking support should visit the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.
A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50 and information on the website is translated into 27 different languages.
The Fair Work Ombudsman recovered a total of $6.082 million back-pay for 5142 underpaid workers across all industries in Queensland last financial year – $796,000 of it through targeted campaign activity.
Campaign result: Qld Pharmacy Industry Campaign Final Report (pdf 491KB)