Real estate agents have been put on notice by Fair Work, with the workplace regulator announcing it will audit 125 agencies in Queensland as a follow up to its campaign last year which found the majority of principals had failed to lodge written staff agreements with the Queensland Property Industry Registry (QPIR).
Fair Work inspectors are planning to audit the businesses – a mix of those that failed to lodge agreements last year and others that will be randomly selected - over the next three months to check that they have lodged the agreements.
Last year, the Fair Work Ombudsman audited 156 real estate agents throughout Queensland and found that 81 (52 per cent) had failed to lodge agreements.
The Fair Work Ombudsman will also work with key industry stakeholders to contact more than 2,000 real estate industry employers throughout Queensland to make them aware of their obligations under workplace laws.
The follow-up campaign will focus on real estate agents, business and hotel brokers, strata and community title management businesses, stock and station agents, buyers’ agencies and real estate valuation agents.
Fair Work inspectors will audit employers throughout Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast and in regional areas including Ipswich, Loganholme, Cairns, Mount Isa, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Hervey Bay, Gladstone, Gympie, Toowoomba, Gatton, Stanthorpe, Charters Towers, Kilcoy, Maryborough, Roma and Longreach.
Fair Work said it is a requirement under the Real Estate Industry Award 2010 for employers to lodge a written agreement with the QPIR for all staff classified as property/strata management or property sales employees.
The agreements must state how the employees will be paid - commission-only, part-commission or as per the rates listed in the Modern Award.
Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson said employers who fail to lodge agreements are at greater risk of underpaying their employees.
“We are conducting this follow-up campaign because we have identified that many of the underpayment complaints we receive from real estate industry workers in Queensland are against employers who have not lodged pay agreements with the QPIR,” Mr Wilson said.
“By ensuring employers are complying with the requirement to lodge agreements, we aim to prevent underpayments and pay disputes before they occur.”