By Annette Shailer

Almost 2000 Queenslanders working in clubs in central and northern parts of the State have been underpaid a total of $350,000 over the past two years.

Latest investigations by the federal Fair Work Ombudsman have recouped another $206,000 for 1100 employees of 59 clubs.

The regulator targeted clubs for a second round of random audits after inspectors last year found less than a third were complying with workplace laws.

The 2008 campaign recovered $141,000 from 52 clubs which had underpaid 890 of their staff.

Some of those underpaying last year were visited a second time, and inspectors discovered three had again short-changed 13 of their staff more than $8500.

Eighty-two sports, RSL and community clubs in the Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Mackay and South-West regions have been scrutinised by Fair Work inspectors over the past eight months.

Fair Work Ombudsman executive director, Michael Campbell, said the result of the latest audit was disturbing, with 59 of the 80 clubs audited (74 per cent) non-compliant. He also would not rule out legal action against repeat offenders.

Campbell said the outcome was a wake-up call to employers to double-check that they are meeting their legal obligations to their workforce.

“And we can help with that. We have 200 highly-skilled advisers ready to answer employer’s questions if they pick up the phone and call our national Infoline on 13 13 94,” he said.

“Alternatively, we have a range of user-friendly resources available on our website, including Best Practice Guides, fact sheets and templates.”

Campbell said most clubs were paying incorrect wage rates and not paying correct overtime, weekend and public holiday penalty rates.

The highest underpayments were unearthed at a club in the Townsville region which had underpaid its staff $40,000.

The largest amount recovered for a single employee was $20,000 in central inland Queensland.

Recoveries for workers from the latest campaign include:

– Cairns region – $13,000 for 92 workers
– Rockhampton region – $62,000 for 393 workers
– Townsville region – $54,000 for 105 workers
– Bundaberg/Gladstone region – $9500 for 55 workers
– Mackay region – $54,000 for 496 workers, and
– South-West region – $12,000 for 57 workers

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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