Wages and Entitlements Calculator
The Hon. PETER PRIMROSE: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Industrial Relations. Will he inform the House of any new initiatives to help workers and employers in New South Wales?
The Hon. JOHN DELLA BOSCA: I thank the honourable member for his question.
The Hon. Michael Gallacher: Get a Brogden government, for starters.
The Hon. JOHN DELLA BOSCA: The Leader of the Opposition does not know how wrong he is. Earlier this year I had the pleasure of launching Check Your Pay—Australia's first online wages and entitlements calculator. Check Your Pay instantly calculates award wages and entitlements for jobs such as hairdressing, clerical, retail, restaurant and catering. This new service is quick, free and easy to use. It allows employees and employers to find out correct pay rates, and entitlements such as holidays and allowances. Honourable members are no doubt aware that it can be a challenge for young workers or for those who are new to an industry to find out exactly what they should be paid and what their legal entitlements are, but now the information is just a view clicks away on the web.
As well as giving employees a chance to ensure that they are being paid correctly, Check Your Pay is a great potential resource for employers. They will now be able to quickly and easily check that they are meeting their obligations. By the use of a simple question and answer format, Check Your Pay will enable people to identify award classifications, calculate minimal award rates of pay, check pay against hours worked, develop time sheets with all allowances, penalties and loadings for a specific period, and calculate holiday and long service leave.
The Hon. Don Harwin: What about Chris Varden's pay?
The Hon. JOHN DELLA BOSCA: The program was developed over 12 months by a team of software designers and award inquiry experts from the New South Wales Office of Industrial Relations. Check Your Pay covers the four most common awards for workers in New South Wales. The clerical, restaurant and catering, retail and hairdressing awards cover 50 per cent of the State's workers who are employed under those sectors. Is the Leader of the Opposition suggesting that Barrie Unsworth is a hairdresser?
The Hon. Michael Gallacher: No, Chris Varden.
The Hon. JOHN DELLA BOSCA: I see. Is he working in the clerical or restaurant industry?
The Hon. Duncan Gay: He is working in the local government area, and has been for a while.
The Hon. JOHN DELLA BOSCA: Members of the Coalition are very disloyal to their old friends, and very unfair. With time, the Office of Industrial Relations expects to add other awards to this online service. The launch of Check Your Pay was a timely one for young people. It coincides with the end of the school year and the beginning of holiday jobs. The Office of Industrial Relations has issued a warning to employers and young workers about work practices, such as unpaid trials. So-called unpaid trials are illegal under New South Wales industrial law. Most employers do the right thing when taking on new staff, but a few try to take advantage of naive or inexperienced workers by promising jobs after unpaid trial periods of work. Under New South Wales industrial laws every worker must be paid proper wages for the work they do. There is no such thing as an unpaid trial working period.
Unfortunately, the Office of Industrial Relations receives a large number of calls from young people with complaints about unpaid trials. There is a sharp rise in this type of complaint over the Christmas period. Those complaints usually lead to an investigation by the Office of Industrial Relations to recover wages and entitlements. I cite a few recent examples: a casual shop assistant with a Sutherland florist was let go after a three-day trial but after intervention by the Office of Industrial Relations she recovered $162 in unpaid wages to which she was entitled; a South Coast transport worker who was put on for two weeks at a trial rate that was well below the award and did not include overtime and leave entitlements recovered $461; and a casual clerk from east Maitland recovered $131 after a three-day work trial. Some of these amounts may seem small. However, even when they involve a few dollars, the experience for a young person of being underpaid or not paid at all for real work can be very disillusioning.
With the number of young people taking advantage of the summer holidays and starting a new job, Check Your Pay is a timely and practical resource. It is also yet another example of how the State Government is making it easier to do business in New South Wales. I urge employees and employers to log on and take advantage of the new technology. Check Your Pay is located at industrialrelations.nsw.gov.au.