Workplace inspectors to scrutinise Sydney construction sites

Workplace Ombudsman executive director of field operations Bill Loizides said the industry was earmarked for scrutiny following consultation with the Australian Building and Construction Commission.“This campaign is aimed at proactively improving compliance with workplace laws in a sector which generates a fair number of complaints,” he said.Loizides said part of the role of the Workplace Ombudsman was to better educate employers about their workplace obligations.The Workplace Ombudsman’s department said inspectors would be checking company employment records to ensure workers are getting their proper wages, penalties, overtime and other entitlements.“A lot of construction companies use smaller subcontractors and simple mistakes are often the result of genuine oversight or lack of information,” Loizides said.“Where we find employers have made an error, we work with them to rectify problems, and most are happy to voluntarily comply.“If, however, the employer has a history of avoiding responsibilities, or in our view has deliberately or systematically attempted to avoid their obligations, we will consider legal action.”The maximum penalty for a breach of the Workplace Relations Act is $33,000.Last financial year, the Workplace Ombudsman initiated 67 court matters, with 53 completed with court-imposed penalties of $1.6 million.

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