Hair and beauty salons and retail outlets are the focus of a new Fair Work Ombudsman compliance campaign that will target businesses along the east coast of Australia.
Fair Work Inspectors will conduct audits of at least 1600 businesses in randomly selected urban and regional areas of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
The campaign will be conducted in two phases, with audits to be conducted in waves.
Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell said the first phase was already underway and the campaign would take approximately 12 months to complete.
“The retail, hair and beauty sectors have been selected for audit because they employ high numbers of workers, particularly young people and workers from migrant backgrounds,” Mr Campbell said.
“In addition, previous audits into hair and beauty businesses and the retail industry have found high levels of non-compliance.
“In 2013 the Fair Work Ombudsman released the results of a national hair and beauty campaign which identified an overall industry non-compliance rate of 55 per cent.
“Victoria recorded the highest rate of non-compliance with almost three quarters of salon operators audited not meeting their obligations under workplace laws,” Mr Campbell said.
The retail industry is Australia’s second largest employer, and Mr Campbell said a previous Fair Work Ombudsman national campaign saw $585,000 returned to 755 workers.
“Our 2012 report revealed that more than 40 per cent of the underpayments identified through the campaign were owed by NSW employers,” Mr Campbell said.
“This new hair, beauty and retail campaign will build on our previous work to reinforce the need for all workplace participants to proactively ensure they are meeting their obligations under Australian workplace laws.”
Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.
Small business operators can opt to receive priority service from the Small Business Helpline.
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s online Hairdressing Assist tool provides resources and links to information about pay, unfair dismissal, superannuation, bullying and long service leave to assist employers and employees with workplace issues: www.fairwork.gov.au/hairdressingassist.