The Fair Work Ombudsman is auditing 600 businesses in the Northern Rivers region in New South Wales to check that employers are paying their workers correctly and meeting their record-keeping and payslip obligations.
Targeted areas include Lismore, Richmond Valley, Ballina, Byron Bay and Tweed Heads.
Inspectors are auditing businesses across a range of sectors, including accommodation and food services, retail, manufacturing and healthcare and social assistance.
The Northern Rivers region was selected because young workers are overrepresented in workplace disputes in the area, accounting for 24.8 per cent of disputes but only 17.8 per cent of the working population.
The region’s workforce also has the fourth-highest percentage of mature-aged workers nationally (29.5 per cent), who may face vulnerabilities relating to age discrimination and job security.
The accommodation and food services sector is amongst the largest employing industries in the region.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the agency prioritises areas and industries where high numbers of vulnerable workers are employed.
“Fair Work Inspectors are speaking to employers, managers and employees across the Northern Rivers region to check that workers are receiving their full wages and entitlements,” she said.
“Any employers found to be deliberately treating vulnerable workers unlawfully will face serious consequences. Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman.”
For people who procure people, there are a range of resources online to assist employers to meet their workplace obligations, including this dedicated Small Business Showcase. Employers and employees can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for free advice and assistance about their rights and obligations in the workplace. A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.