20,000 tip-offs about unlawful workplace practices

Since mid-2016, the Fair Work Ombudsman's Anonymous Report function has received more than 20,000 tip-offs alleging potential workplace breaches.

Thousands of anonymous tip-offs from the public are helping the Fair Work Ombudsman to prosecute employers for unlawful practices in workplaces across Australia.

In one matter, Fair Work inspectors conducted an unannounced visit at a Sydney retail business after receiving an anonymous report alleging employees received as little as $8 per hour, cash in hand.

An audit of the company's records uncovered evidence of contraventions in relation to pay rates, break entitlements and pay slip requirements.

Inspectors issued the company with a Compliance Notice and a contravention letter, resulting in approximately $50,000 in wages and entitlements being paid back to workers.

The company also increased pay rates to ensure compliance in the future.

In late 2017, tip-offs grew significantly. Almost doubling the number of tip-offs received between mid-2016 and mid-2017.

A large proportion of anonymous reports received each month relate to the hospitality industry (36%), with retail the next most-reported industry. The vast majority of reports contain allegations concerning pay.

Young people, students and visa holders all account for a significant number of the anonymous reports received.

In July last year, the Anonymous Report function was also launched in 16 languages other than English, making it even easier for more sections of the community to report workplace concerns to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Close to 800 reports have been received in languages other than English, with Chinese and Korean the most common languages used.

With the risk of fines and penalties now higher, and the fines and penalties increasing every year, employers need to ensure they are fully-compliant with Australian employment laws.

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