Convenience store chain 7-Eleven claims it has handed over almost $700,000 to 21 underpaid employees since it moved its rectification process in-house, coinciding with the FWO securing its largest penalty against one of the company's franchisees for conduct such as repaying employees then demanding they hand the money back.
The director of a security company that knowingly and deliberately underpaid eight casual security guards by more than $20,000 over a three month period must personally repay the employees after what the FWO is hailing as a "precedent-setting" Federal Circuit Court ruling.
The FWO has secured its largest back-payment, after making an enforceable undertaking with a Victorian-based mining services company that requires it to reimburse $2 million to 205 underpaid workers and provide IR training to all managers with HR and payroll responsibilities.
An application to register a new union for Korean workers and workers employed by Korean businesses will be heard by the FWC later this month, but it faces stiff opposition after the Commission received up to 12 objections.
A court has levied a fine of more than $270,000 on a company that made an employee work 180 unpaid hours as an intern, and has also imposed a $8160 fine and three-year injunction on its director, who was already bound by an enforceable undertaking.
An FWO inquiry into housekeeping services reveals that exploitation of vulnerable, overseas workers is rife within the industry, as one of Australia's largest hotel and resort operators agrees to enter into enforceable undertakings with the watchdog in a bid to avoid proceedings over an independent contracting model it established that robbed workers of their correct wages and conditions.
A Turnbull Coalition Government, if returned at the July 2 election, will amend the Fair Work Act to make franchisors and parent entities responsible for their franchisees' and subsidiaries' exploitation of vulnerable workers, while increasing penalties tenfold for employers that underpay such workers and fail to keep proper records.