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Northern Rivers Targeted In Latest Wage Theft Campagin

Northern Rivers targeted in latest wage theft campagin

Businesses in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales will be targeted in the latest round of wage theft audits.

The Fair Work Ombudsman will audit 600 businesses in the area.

Inspectors will check that employers are paying legal wages in addition to keeping accurate records and providing pay slips.

Northern Rivers targeted

Areas the Fair Work Ombudsman will target include Ballina, Richmond Valley, Lismore, Byron Bay and Tweed Heads.

The types of businesses on the regulator’s hit list include accommodation and food services, retail, manufacturing and also healthcare.

Northern Rivers generates high number of complaints

Fair Work is targeting the Northern Rivers following the high number of wage theft complaints from young workers in the region.

The regulator points to data which shows young workers says young workers account for 24.8 percent of disputes.

They only make up 17.8 percent of the working population, however.

Moreover, the region’s workforce has the fourth-highest percentage of mature-aged workers nationally.

This cohort is vulnerable to age discrimination and fear for their job security.

Finally, the accommodation and food services sectors make up the largest employing industries in the region.

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Audits have their place

Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan welcomed the targeted campaign by the workplace watchdog.

“These audit campaigns have their place in the battle against the scourge of wage theft,” he said.

“Inspectors always find dodgy businesses underpaying their workers, and as a result, can impose penalties or cautions.

“They can also recover stolen wages on behalf of workers – and that’s a good thing.

Mr Heffernan has previously called on state and federal governments to make wage theft a crime.

“Until we start locking up recalcitrant employers, they will continue to steal their workers wages,” he said.

Meanwhile, Fair Work has promised “serious consequences” for businesses in the Northern Rivers found breaching workplace laws.

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