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The Fair Work Ombudsman has released the findings of its National Building and Construction Industry Campaign 2014/2015.

Fair Work inspectors scrutinised 700 employers to check minimum wage rates, penalty rates, allowances, overtime, pay-slip, record-keeping obligations and contracting arrangements.

41 per cent of employers were found to be breaching Australia’s Fair Work laws.

25 per cent of employers were found to be not paying their employees correctly.

23 per cent of employers were found to be not compliant with their record-keeping and pay-slip obligations.

Ninety-six employers were found to have underpaid a total of 201 employees almost $260,000.

The largest amount required to be reimbursed by any one business was $58,000.

Four employers were issued with formal Letters of Caution, putting them on notice that further workplace breaches may result in enforcement action.

The Fair Work Ombudsman earmarked the building and construction sector for attention after assessing its complaints data and in light of the results of previous campaigns.

In the 2013 calendar year, the Agency received 2083 requests for assistance from employees in the construction industry, of which 1027 were sustained, resulting in a 49 per cent contravention rate.

Six regional campaigns since 2009, which audited more than 500 businesses, resulted in an overall contravention rate of 65 per cent.

And between January and June, 2014, the Fair Work Ombudsman received 770 requests for assistance from apprentices – 38 per cent from apprentices in the building and construction industry.

In the most recent campaign, trade-qualified employees tended to be paid above their minimum entitlements, and most underpayments related to low-skilled workers reliant on Award conditions.

Source: Fair Work Ombudsman Media Release 29 July 2015

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