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Like to save $500K? Get your employee entitlements right!

A company operating news websites covering regional Queensland and its director have been penalised a total of $264,924 for underpaying journalists and production staff following legal action by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The Federal Circuit Court also ordered Touchpoint Media Pty Ltd and company director Laurence Bernard Ward to back-pay 23 staff a total $305,780 for underpayments that occurred between January 2015 and June 2016.
Read the Fair Work media release here.

While stories like the one above are increasingly common in the media, it’s my personal experience that very few employers wilfully underpay employees. Underpayment issues typically arise because employers are unaware of the correct Modern Award their employees work under and what entitlements are owed to those working under these Awards.

Knowing what Modern Award applies to your employees and correct rates of pay and allowances is essential. Given there’s currently 122 Modern Awards, things can get a little confusing – particularly if you have employees performing different roles – but there is a simple (and free!) resource available to employers.

The Pay and Conditions Tool (PACT) is an online tool provided by the Fair Work Ombudsman. The PACT helps employers and employees find and calculate the right minimum award pay rates and entitlements for the Fair Work System.

The Pay and Conditions Tool is made up of 4 calculators for:

  • pay rates – including penalty rates and allowances
  • shift calculations
  • annual and sick leave
  • notice and redundancy entitlements

You can access the Pay and Conditions Tool here.

Employers and employees can also seek assistance from the Fair Work Ombudsman at or by contacting the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.

As an employer, it’s vital you understand your obligations to uphold the entitlements of your staff. Getting the basics right is the first step to managing your HR risk in avoiding penalties from the Fair Work Ombudsman and civil courts. A logical place to start? Find someone who understands the national workplace relations system and can provide expert HR advice tailored to your business.

Like to know a little more? Give Bare Bones Consulting a call or send an enquiry via our “Contact Us” box and we’ll get right back to you. That’s one item ticked off your “to do” list for the week…look at you go!

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Give Bare Bones Consulting a call to discuss our range of HR services to help your business succeed.

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Note: Bare Bones Consulting provides HR services for employers. Employees seeking advice on workplace concerns should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.