Fair Work finds non-compliance rife in car repair industry

A new report from the Fair Work Ombudsman has uncovered an extraordinary amount of non-compliance in the vehicle repair and maintenance industry, with a massive 41% of companies breaching at least some workplace laws.

The report is only the latest audit undertaken by the FWO – its latest targets include the Victorian brothel industry and hairdressers.

The FWO said the vehicle repair industry generates about 300 complaints a year. Most of the companies that haven’t complied have broken record keeping or pay slip obligations.

The latest probe was sparked by the need to examine compliance with the industry’s latest award, introduced in 2010. Businesses covered under the award include mechanics, panel beaters, car washers, paint and interior specialists and electricians.

Out of 24,000 employers sent information on compliance, 759 were audited. A massive 314 businesses recorded contraventions – the worst was in Victoria where only 38% businesses were compliant.

Overall, 16% of companies had contraventions concerning underpayments, and 22% were related to time and wage record-keeping discrepancies

“An interesting finding was that businesses registered before January 1, 2010 were more likely to have contraventions, both monetary and non-monetary, than those businesses registered after this date. However, the monetary contravention percentage was similar between the two groups,” the report found.

Many companies were simply unaware of their obligations, it found.

It was found that 144 employers underpaid 230 employees a total of $200,000, and another 170 companies didn’t keep sufficient records. In Queensland alone, the FWO recovered $117,692 for 142 employees across 79 companies.

Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson said in a statement the campaign succeeded in that it raised awareness of employers about the importance of workplace obligations.

He added it was “pleasing that Fair Work inspectors were able to assist those employers…and put processes in place to ensure future compliance”.


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