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A Victorian security company has been put on notice after it short-changed a Ballarat employee almost $30,000 over four years.

While the company has back-paid the worker in full, it has received a Letter of Caution from the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The employee was underpaid his normal hourly rate, casual loadings, shift allowances, weekend and public holiday penalty rates and overtime rates between 2009 and 2013.

The Fair Work Ombudsman found that the security guard was paid an average of $21.84 an hour for overtime work when he should have received $33 an hour.

Further, he was paid less than $20 an hour for public holiday work despite being entitled to rates of up to $37.73 – and on Saturdays, he was paid $23.14 instead of the minimum $29.97.

The employee lodged a request for assistance with the Fair Work Ombudsman after becoming aware he was being paid below lawful minimum rates.

The Fair Work Ombudsman says the Melbourne-based security company co-operated with inspectors and avoided enforcement action.

“When we find employers who have made mistakes, our preference is always to educate them about their obligations and work with the business to resolve the issues outside of the Courts,” The Fair Work Ombudsman said.

The Fair Work Ombudsman says it is vitally important employers ensure they are aware of the minimum wage rates applicable to their workplace, including penalty rates.

“A small mistake left over time can easily result in a hefty bill for back-payment of wages – so it is important employers get it right in the first place,” The Fair Work Ombudsman said.

Employers risk penalties of up to $54,000 for each breach of the Fair Work Act 2009.

Most businesses – including small businesses – are now covered by the national Fair Work system created by the Fair Work Act 2009.

Fair work Inspectors appointed by the Fair Work Ombudsman have the power to enter a workplace at any time during working hours to inspect records and ensure compliance: Read more about fines and penalties: Fair Work Act 2009

HR Managers, Directors and people responsible for payroll and administration functions also risk personal fines under Section 550 of the Fair Work Act 2009.

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