Labour Relations Division, Western Australia

Department of Commerce in Western Australia

Overview

Labour Relations Division (“LRD”)  of the Department of Commerce in Western Australia (“WA”) shapes and influences industrial relations systems that encourage flexible, balanced and productive work practices in WA.

The LRD delivers the following key services:
-  education and advice;
-  compliance;
-  policy and legal;
-  public sector labour relations.

For compliance:
-  industrial inspectors visit WA workplace to ensure that employment terms and conditions comply with industrial law, awards and agreements;
-  complaints about pay, hours of work and leave entitlements are investigated;
-  prosecutions occur where there is a prima facie breach of an award, agreement or minimum conditions of employment legislation.

How does it work?

There are two types of complaints that can be made by an employee.

Procedure for employee complaint regarding underpayment:

1.   The employee to find out about his/her rates of pay and entitlement;

2.   The employee to keep records of his/her hours of work, weekly rates of pay and any leave taken;

3.   The employee should approach his/her employer to resolve the underpayment issue;

4.   The employee can make a claim by approaching the employer in writing.

5.   If the employer does not respond to the employee’s letter or is unwilling to resolve the matter directly with the employee, a formal complaint can be lodged. The complaint will be assigned to a Department of Commerce Industrial Inspector for review.

6.   The Industrial Inspector will contact the employee regarding the complaint, and will assist him/her to try and resolve the matter by conciliation. If the matter cannot be resolved through conciliation the department may commence a formal investigation.

7.   The Industrial Inspectors conduct the investigations by examining all available evidence and assessing whether breaches may be  substantiated.

8.   Once the investigation is complete, the employee will be contacted and notified of its outcome.

If the employee believes he/she has not received wages or other benefits due under an employment contract, they may be able to make a contractual entitlements claim to the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (“WAIRC”). Procedure for employee complaint regarding the enforcement of contractual entitlements claims:

1.   The fee to lodge a claim is $50.

2.   The employee must correctly identify the employer, and specify what benefits he/she was entitled to and what it is he/she is claiming.

3.   When an application has been made and after documentary requirements have been satisfied, the application will proceed to a conciliation conference presided over by a member of the WAIRC or a Deputy Registrar.

Who can access it? 

Contractual Entitlements Claim

An employee that earns the salary below $140,400. The WAIRC has the power to deal with claims for benefits under a contract of employment against all employers, local government and some public sector agencies.

Underpayment

All employers are required to pay employees their correct employment entitlements, including rates of pay, leave and allowances. If an employer believes that he/she has not been paid correctly by his/her employer or a previous employer, he/she may be able to make a complaint about underpayment.

Outcome 

Underpayment

If the claim of underpayment is substantiated, the Industrial Inspector will attempt to recover the full outstanding entitlements from the employer in question. If payment is not made or the employer refuses to pay, the department may prosecute the employer concerned.

Contractual entitlements claims

If the parties reach a resolution to the matter during the conciliation process, the WAIRC may (if the parties agree) make an order giving effect to their agreement or discontinuing the application without disclosing the terms of the agreement. If the parties fail to reach a resolution, the matter is then usually listed for arbitration at a later date where a ruling is made as to the merits of the matter.

References 

About the division

Employee complaints about pay and conditions

Claims of unfair dismissal and of denied contractual entitlements

Last edited: 
April, 2013

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