National News

Victorian workers underpaid thousands

Short-changed Victorian workers have recovered more than a quarter of a million dollars in lost earnings through the Fair Work Ombudsman this year.

The ombudsman has helped 64 Victorian workers recover about $280,000 worth of lost earnings this year, according media releases published between January to May 15.

This includes recovering; hourly rate, overtime, annual leave, meal breaks to resignation and termination payouts to workers.

And in the 2015/16 financial year more than $9 million in unpaid wages and entitlements were recovered for 4293 Victorian workers by the FWO - the highest amount for the largest number of workers in the country.

More cash could be added to this year's recovery total if, through the ombudsman, a Melbourne fruit and vegetable shop manager recovers $114,977 in alleged underpayments.

He had been working 65 hours a week for almost three years between 2012 and late 2014.

The FWO said the manager's normal wage was underpaid and he was only given $10 in cash for each hour he worked overtime.

The ombudsman says the operator's business' records were "so sub-standard" that toll road records had to be used to prove the manager worked on average 130 hours a fortnight.

It will also be alleged the same employer underpaid a qualified florist almost $18,000.

The ombudsman is now taking the company, director Stephen Fanous and an operations manager to court to recover the wages and penalise them for poor record-keeping.

"We know that younger workers and workers from migrant backgrounds can be more vulnerable in the workplace as they are often reluctant to make complaints and may not be aware of their rights," FWO Natalie James said in a statement on Monday.

AAP has made attempts to contact Mr Fanous and the business for comment.

© AAP 2017

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