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Ombudsman in uproar over underpaid staff

17 March 2014 Steven Cross

A Fair Work Ombudsman has launched a scathing review of the real estate industry, claiming the number of cases of principals underpaying staff is still too high.

Queensland Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James is urging employer organisations and large real estate brands to help drive behavioural change.

“Most real estate companies would want the poor practices among their competitors exposed and remedied ... so we need to harness that attitude to bring about improvement and a level playing field for all,” she said.

In 2011, the Fair Work Ombudsman audited 156 Queensland offices on staff pay agreements.


The results showed that less than half were compliant, prompting a follow-up campaign last year.

Of 279 employers scrutinised by the Ombudsman, 82 per cent had complied with the requirement to lodge pay agreements for staff with the Queensland Property Industry Registry.

While encouraged by the turnaround, Ms James said there are still some disturbing findings by Fair Work inspectors looking into complaints against non-payments to staff.

Ms James cited two incidents in the past 12 months that have tarnished the image of agents.

In June last year, the operators of Lovers of Property Pty Ltd were fined a total of $27,720 by the Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane for paying a salesman just $100 for five months' work, while in February this year, Centenary Suburbs Sales and Management underpaid a sales consultant by more than $16,000 over seven months.

Ombudsman in uproar over underpaid staff
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