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Underpaid Commonwealth Games security guards get thousands back

A chat to the security guards ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on April 4, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo: Getty)
A chat to the security guards ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on April 4, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo: Getty)

Ten security guards who worked at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games has had their unpaid wages to the tune of $24,000 paid out to them.

The back-pay follows an audit conducted by the Fair Work Ombudsman of the security providers for the event after security guards raised concerns about their entitlements.

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation contracted out security arrangements to four principal providers who then used sub-contractors for the 11-day event, forming a labour supply chain.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the audit uncovered a consistent issue of guards not being paid until “well after” shifts had been completed.

“In some instances, guards had to wait months to get paid properly,” said Parker.

“This was a breach of employers’ obligations under the Fair Work Act to pay their employees on time.”

“The delays were caused by shortcomings in the electronic record keeping system used to record work hours, which meant guards’ shifts had to be manually reconciled before they could be paid.”

Two security providers did not properly pay overtime, weekend and public holiday penalty rates, leading to the underpayment of ten security guards.

On top of that, three security providers did not keep proper employment records or give security guards correct pay slips.

On top of returning unpaid wages back to the security guards, the FWO has issued four infringement notices with a total of $12,600 in penalties for breaches, contravention letters to audited business instructing them to rectify non-compliance.

The Ombudsman also issued a formal caution that puts one security provider on notice about potential legal action for any future breaches.

Parker said large-scale events can provide challenges to some businesses in ensuring they are meeting lawful workplace obligations.

“It’s vital they recognise and plan around this complexity to ensure their staff are paid in full and on time."

“Ensuring workers in labour supply chains get their correct pay and entitlements is a priority area for the FWO and businesses can expect more compliance and enforcement action in this area.”

The FWO has a number of tools to help businesses ensure they are compliant with workplace laws, including the Pay and Conditions tool, the online learning centre, the Record My Hours app and My Account.

The Fair Work Infoline is available on 13 13 94 for free assistance about employee and employers’ rights and obligations.

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