Australian authorities are seeking assurances that the owners and operators of a coal carrier detained off the Queensland coast will pay the wages of about 20 crew and give them enough provisions for their journey to China.
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.
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.
With the deadline looming for companies to submit their annual gender equity reports, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency has highlighted a 13.9% pay gap for female senior managers in law firms, while a new KPMG report shows ASX-listed employers are making slow progress in appointing female senior executives – with the notable exception of HR roles.
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.