News

Pickers not paid for fruits of labour

AN INVESTIGATION by the Fair Work Ombudsman has revealed the operators of blueberry farms at Sandy Beach underpaid their workers tens of thousands of dollars.

Almost 140 seasonal workers were short-changed a total of more than $46,000 between July last year and the end of January this year.

The largest single underpayment was $966. Many of the employees were overseas backpackers in Australia on the 417 working holiday visa.

The employers, Jusbinder Singh Benning, Tarlochan Sing Benning, Balbir Kaur Benning and Amarjit Kaur Benning, have agreed to repay all outstanding wages and entitlements.

Their properties were audited in March this year as part of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s national Harvest Trail project targeting the horticulture industry.

Trading as K S Benning & Sons, the employers failed to pay the correct wages and entitlements applicable under the Horticulture Award.

They underpaid casual loadings, penalty rates and failed to keep appropriate employment records.

The Bennings’ have apologised and expressed sincere regret for their behaviour and given a commitment that such conduct will not occur again. They have also signed an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) with the Fair Work Ombudsman.

As well as reimbursing the underpaid employees, Bennings’ must now:

  • Engage an external accounting professional to audit its workplace practices,
  • Place workplace notices at its work sites explaining the workplace contraventions and actions taken to remedy them,
  • Register with the Fair Work Ombudsman’s online tool My Account,
  • Implement systems and processes to ensure future compliance with workplace laws,
  • Arrange training in workplace relations for managers with responsibility for human resources, recruitment and payroll functions, and
  • Make a $5000 donation to the Adele Residential Treatment Program.

Enforceable Undertakings were introduced by legislation in 2009 and the Fair Work Ombudsman has been using them to achieve strong outcomes against companies that breach workplace laws without the need for civil court proceedings.

"They are used where we have formed a view that a breach of the law has occurred, but where the employer has acknowledged this and accepted responsibility and agreed to co-operate and fix the problem," says Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James.

She encouraged employers who had any uncertainty about their workplace practices to go to www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline for advice on 13 13 94.




Carlie cheers Masterchef cousin

BIG CHEER: Carlie Slattery (top right) with her husband Madison and kids Ashton, Eva and baby Milla celebrate Carlie's cousin Elena's win in MasterChef last night.

Carlie gets behind her cousin's Masterchef win

THREE Grafton Correctional Centre inmates were taken to hosp

Three Grafton Correctional Centre inmates were taken to hospital

Is Rivers coming to Grafton?

No Caption

Here's 6 more stores we think should call the Clarence Valley home

Latest deals and offers

The Bachelor: Vinteaea tells why she had to walk out

Vintaea Carlos was one of 22 "bachelorettes" looking for love on the fourth season of The Bachelor.

Queensland beauty leaves Richie at rose ceremony.

Amber Heard claims Johnny Depp is stalling divorce

Amber Heard claims Johnny Depp is delaying their divorce

The Bachelor host: this year's season is a cracker

The Bachelor host Osher Gunsberg.

GUNSBERG says tonight will be "the best night of TV of the year".

Kerri-Anne Kennerley to Sonia Kruger: "Stay brave"

She said her television peer should "stay brave"

Swimwear designer looking for love on The Bachelor

Noni Janur on her first day of filming.

The 25-year-old is one of 22 women vying for Richie Strahan’s heart

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started