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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    447

    Default Salary deductions for mistakes?

    A friend's 18yo daughter is working casually at an independent supermarket in Melbourne. She has apparently only done a few shifts and has had minimal training. After a recent shift on the till, when she reconciled the till at the end of her shift she found the cash was $20 short. She has been told she must repay $20.

    Is this legal?

    Also, at the same place, the shifts for the casual workers are 3 hours and 45 minutes long, yet the staff are almost always kept back for a further 15-20 minutes, which they are never paid for.

    Is there a reason why they don't just make the shifts 4 hours long?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    185

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moz View Post
    A friend's 18yo daughter is working casually at an independent supermarket in Melbourne. She has apparently only done a few shifts and has had minimal training. After a recent shift on the till, when she reconciled the till at the end of her shift she found the cash was $20 short. She has been told she must repay $20.

    Is this legal?

    Also, at the same place, the shifts for the casual workers are 3 hours and 45 minutes long, yet the staff are almost always kept back for a further 15-20 minutes, which they are never paid for.

    Is there a reason why they don't just make the shifts 4 hours long?
    Wow and yet another (7Eleven, Pizza Hut etc).

    1. The 18 y.o. should have been informed under what industrial instrument she is employed, ie it is either an award or an enterprise agreement and she should be given access to said instrument.

    2. As a casual, she is employed by the hour with no guarantee of work. If being given regular shifts, and it went on for an extended period, she actually would no longer be classed as a casual if it came down to redundancy.

    3. She must be paid for ALL of the hours she works. Depending on the industrial instrument, there will be a minimum number of hours casuals must be brought in for ie the modern awards vary on this but usually it is three or four hours; if insufficient work to last that time, employer still has to pay the employee for those minimum hours. So in example you give, employer is in breach of his obligations by failing to pay for the additional time worked. Provided (and this assumed) employer is actually asking the employee to stay back and work that extra 3/4 hr.

    4. If she submits a timesheet for hours worked, be sure to keep a copy plus retain copies of all Pay Advice Slips, so it is easy to match the two. Important, as if this employer is breaching the award or EA, then she can go to Fair Work Commission and lodge a claim for underpayment and be successful in obtaining a backpay. But everything hinges on the industrial instrument. The more people who speak up in these situations, the faster those shoddy employers will learn their lessons.

    5. Some awards provide that casuals don't get paid overtime eg the retail industry award, that means they could work 10 hours and still just receive their base rate + the 25% casual loading for all hours worked but even only called into to work 7.6 hrs, they still must be paid for all their hours. Also note that a Pay Advice Slip must name the industrial instrument and the grade or level the employee is classified at and the casual loading and base pay rates must be shown as separate line items - this is proof the employer is actually paying the casual loading.

    6. To your question re the till short fall, many organizations dealing in cash do have company policies in place covering this type of thing. So it is not unusual. Key however in this case is whether the girl was actually given copies of relevant company policies, or directed to their location on the company's website. Normally that would be included in Induction/Training. If there is none of this and she genuinely did not know, then, again, she has recourse at least for the first time there is a short fall, when they should counsel her, explain the policy and thereafter she would know that a shortfall has to be made up by her.

    So tell your friend to
    1) Find out what the industrial instrument is (all awards are listed on the Fair Work website and are easy to navigate. Registered Enterprise Agreements are also out there in the public domain - call FW Infoline for assistance.

    2) Familiarize themselves with the instrument particularly in relation to pay, hours worked etc.

    3) Demand meeting with the Store Owner/Manager but do your homework first, work out what you think she is owed thus far - shows you are on the ball and might head off any efforts to bamboozle you. Also ask this individual for a copy of the policy re till short falls.

    4) No joy with this, contact the Head Office of the supermarket chain and ask to speak to the head of Human Resources.

    5) Still no joy, lodge complaint against the organization with Fair Work. In current climate, this will probably initiate an audit of all this supermarkets' locations. They won't like that very much.
    Good luck
    Tiger

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    SA
    Posts
    14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moz View Post
    A friend's 18yo daughter is working casually at an independent supermarket in Melbourne. She has apparently only done a few shifts and has had minimal training. After a recent shift on the till, when she reconciled the till at the end of her shift she found the cash was $20 short. She has been told she must repay $20.

    Is this legal?

    Also, at the same place, the shifts for the casual workers are 3 hours and 45 minutes long, yet the staff are almost always kept back for a further 15-20 minutes, which they are never paid for.

    Is there a reason why they don't just make the shifts 4 hours long?

    This unfortunately is not an unheard of practice, where businesses operate to undermine the unweary young workers.

    Essentially despite the operation of a CA (collective agreement) or an Award, the basis of your question and the answers come from the Fair Work Act 2009.

    Section 323 provides that 'an employer must pay an employee amounts payable to the employee in relation to the performance of work (a) in full (except as provided by section 324

    Section 324 addresses deduction from wages and only permits a deduction from wages in 'Authorised' situation only, be-it by an award, CA or at the employees specific request. For an employer to deduct from wages, an employer must first provide a written authorisation that sets out the exact amount of the deduction (s324(2)), but more importantly the deduction MUST be 'principally for the employee’s benefit'.

    Under ringing's from tills deductions were one of the prime reason why this section was introduced in the FWAct.

    With respect to the 'additional time' which I shall assume is for the purpose of either store opening/closing or setting up and cashing up the register at the end of the shift. Again this is work, and is covered by s323 above.

    I agree with everything Tiger has noted by way of keeping records, but importantly submitting time records accurately. As an employer, these records must be maintained for 7 years, but for the employee, you have six (6) years to seek compensation and repayment (plus interest via a court) at any time during this time. It is not unheard of for vulnerable employees to wait until they secure better employment to seek to recover the underpayments, but remember - Records, Records and Records. All parties need to keep them.

    Plus I would encourage anyone to 'communicate' their concerns

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    447

    Default

    Thank you Tiger and IndustrialResources. My friend's daughter is apparently no longer getting any shifts, so it may be left to others to take this employer to task, which probably won't happen. I suspect this sort of behaviour is rife in the independent retail sector and is allowed to continue because young people don't know their rights, and are often not confident enough to rock the boat because the need the work.

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