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.
Convenience store chain 7-Eleven is ending the Fels Panel's oversight of its process for rectifying systematic underpayments to franchisee employees and moving the task to what it says is an independent internal unit.
The FWC has ordered abattoir operator Teys Australia to backpay thousands of dollars to meatworkers for incentive scheme underpayments during a long period of "confusion" and "uncertainty" about the operation of its enterprise agreement and an associated incentive payment system.
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Law firm Maurice Blackburn is calling for tougher laws to force franchises to take responsibility for their franchisees' employment practices, as it pursues three underpayment claims totalling $1 million via the Fels 7-Eleven Wage Fairness Panel, which has now secured payouts of $11 million.
The Federal Circuit Court has ordered a Mahjong club to pay more than $415,000 in compensation for breaching state and federal IR laws and engaging in adverse action when it moved a full-time tea attendant to a part-time role because of his workers' compensation claim.
The union that represents cleaners, disability care workers and security guards is asking the FWC to "convene a special process" in the second half of the year to determine whether it can set a "medium-term target" for the minimum wage, to arrest what it says is a long-term downward trajectory.