by Jim Alouat
FAIR Work inspectors will audit 200 random businesses throughout the region after recovering more than $400,000 for Wide Bay workers in the past two financial years.
The Fair Work Ombudsman will audit time and wage records at randomly selected businesses across a variety of industries in Bundaberg in Bundaberg, Gympie, Maryborough, Hervey Bay and surrounding areas.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the agency had been contacted by hundreds of workers in the region over the past two financial years alleging that they had been underpaid.
"In the last two financial years my agency recovered $402,805 for 220 workers in the Wide Bay region," Ms James says.
"The Wide Bay region has a high unemployment rate and a high youth unemployment rate, making workers in the region more vulnerable to exploitation and potentially more willing to accept sub-standard work practices."
Ms James said one of the aims of the campaign was to ensure employers were aware of their workplace responsibilities and how the Fair Work Ombudsman could help them to access, understand and apply for information to build a culture of compliance in their workplaces.
"It is important that we are proactive about checking that employees are receiving their full lawful entitlements and improving compliance in the region," Ms James said.
As part of the campaign, Fair Work inspectors will provide employers with advice and access to resources that will help them to meet their workplace obligations.
Ms James said Fair Work was also particularly focused on helping workers who were new to the workforce because they can be vulnerable if they were not fully aware of their rights or may be reluctant to complain.
For more information visit www.fairwork.gov.au.