Just under $20,000 in wages has been recovered for 29 cleaners around Adelaide.
- Fair Work inspectors looked into 17 cleaning businesses around Adelaide
- More than half were found to have breached workplace laws, including underpaying workers
- Those businesses were ordered to back pay 29 employees nearly $20,000
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) said it had recovered $18,952 after a probe into 17 commercial contract cleaning businesses in Adelaide.
Ten of those companies — which were investigated after anonymous tip-offs, customer enquiries or requests for help from the FWO — were found to have breached workplace laws.
During the investigation, inspectors interviewed cleaners, employers and managers, reviewed records, observed work practices and noted staff numbers.
The companies investigated had provided cleaning to shopping centres, among other sites.
Seven of the 10 companies which breached workplace laws had underpaid employees, two had underpaid employees and failed to meet pay slip and record-keeping requirements and one other had breached the pay slip and record-keeping laws.
In a statement, the FWO said the most common breaches were failures to pay penalty rates, underpayment of minimum hourly rates and failure to keep employee records.
Eight compliance notices were issued, requiring those employers to rectify underpayments, which recovered $18,662.
The largest back payment from one business was $7,852 for nine employees.
Four infringement notices were also issued for pay slip and record-keeping breaches, resulting in $888 in fines.
Migrant workers at ‘high risk of exploitation’
Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the contract cleaning industry was a new compliance priority for the agency.
“Contract cleaning is part of an industry that employs a lot of migrant workers, who we know are at higher risk of exploitation,” Ms Parker said.
“The Fair Work Ombudsman expects all cleaning employers and supply chain businesses to comply with workplace laws.”
As part of its focus, the FWO has launched a “targeted contract cleaning webpage with resources for employees, employers and independent contractors, including information on pay, entitlements, record-keeping and resolving workplace problems”.
There, businesses can apply for certification of their building’s cleaning supply chain through an industry-led framework.