“If you’re rostered on from 8:30am, you need to be here at 8:15am to set up the shop.”
It’s a phrase that will ring bells in many Australians workers minds: dodgy bosses asking workers to perform duties before they’re officially ‘clocked on’ and being paid.
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Now, the Fair Work Ombudsman is calling this dodgy practice out.
“You’re entitled to be paid for all the time you work. This means if you’re required to come in 10 minutes early or stay back late to count the till or clean, it should be paid time,” the FWO said in a Facebook post.
“And you shouldn’t be asked not to clock on yet if you’re working or to clock off early so you aren’t paid.
“So if you’ve been finding your pay packet is always a bit light because your boss rounds down your hours to the nearest 15 or 30 minutes or asks you to work ‘off the clock’, know this isn’t ok.”
The FWO said it’s a “myth” that employees don’t need to be paid for time spent opening and closing stores or restaurants.
In a fact sheet, the ombudsman said employees need to be paid for “all hours they dedicate to work”.
“For example, if an employee is required to be at work at 7.45am to prepare for an 8am store opening, they need to be paid from 7.45am.”
Other workplace myths exposed
The FWO also exposed several common myths.
It said lengthy unpaid work trials, internships and unpaid work trials are only okay in some instances.
“Unpaid work trials are only OK for as long as needed to demonstrate the skills required for the job. Depending on the nature of the work, this could range from an hour to one shift,” it said.
“Internships or unpaid work placements can be lawfully unpaid when they are part of an approved job training or work experience program or vocational placement and the work is done in accordance with the relevant program or placement.”
The FWO also highlighted the problem with employers who expect staff to complete essential training programs outside of work hours, without getting paid.
“If it is compulsory, then it is work. Employees are entitled to be paid for the time they are required to spend at any meeting or training.”
Employers who require staff buy store produce or clothes are also breaking the law.
That means that if you’re required to buy and wear your clothing store’s latest range - without being 100 per cent compensated, your boss is breaking the law.
“Employers cannot require staff to purchase store produce. This includes any items for which the worker may receive a staff discount. For example, an employer cannot require workers to purchase the particular clothing stocked in a retail outlet.”
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