The Fair Work Ombudsman’s strengthened compliance and enforcement approach has seen another record amount of back-paid wages for Australian workers in the last financial year.
A record $532 million in unpaid wages and entitlements was recovered for more than 384,000 workers in 2021-22 according to speech by Deputy Fair Work Ombudsman Kristen Hannah at the Policy-Influence-Reform (PIR) conference in Canberra early this week.
It’s also an indication of how large the problem of employee underpayments has become. More than half of the recoveries – almost $279 million – came from large corporate employers.
The long list of major employers embroiled in wage scandals continues to grow – Coles, Woolworths, Target, Qantas, Michael Hill, Caltex, Spotless, 7-Eleven, Top Juice, Bunnings, Biada, Wesfarmers, Commonwealth Bank, George Calombaris, Pizza Hut, Rockpool Dining Group, Hungry Jacks, Subway, Touchpoint Media and many others.
The Fair Work Ombudsman also currently has about 50 investigations underway into large corporates that have self-reported underpayments, including some of Australia’s largest companies.
In 2021-22, the federal workplace regulator filed a record 137 litigations.
This was close to a doubling of the number of new matters put into court the year before.