22 April 2013

Possible cheated wages/being underpaid??!

| jessieanne
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Hi everyone,

I am posting this for my partner, I do not wish to mention his exact trade nor the company for obvious reasons, as I wouldn’t want anyone he works for that may possibly read this see its about them,

My partner is working for a company as a sub-contracter, and has been with them for over 2yrs now, (no offer to be on wages without his pay rate dropping dramatically as yet)

Anyway around 5months ago his boss had told him that the next contract (he works for a company that is contracted to do the work and then the company contracts out specific parts of the work to be done to its workers our) coming up he was going to give to him solely so that he could make a considerable amount extra for all the work he was now doing (around an extra $20-$25 per/hr on top of his current rate is the average rate for the work being done) anyway the months have ticked by and the work load and demand has increased dramatically also (I still can’t believe how my partner works so hard, he’s a true hard worker to the bone and a massive asset to the company he works for) anyhow long story short after no increase as yet he found out from a work-mate that his boss and one of the other supervisors got the contract between themselves 4months ago and are each getting the $60/hr pay rate for NOTHING, while my Hubby does ALL THE WORK, every single scrap of work the contract is for he is doing while they go about their usual prior duties/job descriptions reaping all the benefits.

Is this allowable? I mean obviously it most likely is even though its not a fair way of conducting business, but what I’m getting at is there anyway his boss (who is only in charge of the workers on his site, his a foreman) could be in any trouble higher up for being paid the higher rate for work which he is not doing?(the company itself likes to look after each employee and pay them accordingly for all work they complete.

I’m not sure if I’ve explained the issue really well but any feedback would be great.

Please keep comments fair, and yes I did tell my partner to get it in writing when it was offered to him but sadly he didn’t as many people do he took his bosses word for it.


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Sorry Im not clear on parts of this.

Is he doing work thats part of his contract or not? If it is is this extra work supposed to be paid with extra money under the table which he now isnt getting?

If its not a part of his contract is it extra work he agreed to do for extra pay and now is doing the work but not getting paid?

If its work in his contract and he is getting paid as per his contract then will be hard to make much of it.

As an aside Ive worked in large and small companies and virtually everyone Ive ever worked with as felt “they” did all the work and their boss did nothing. Its often a perception problem as they only see their conection with their boss and not what else he/she may be doing. May not be true in this case but obvioulsy someone thinks the boss is worth paying. 😉

I can’t fathom from the OP what the exact problem is. Is your partner not being paid what was agreed and presumably written in the contract?
Or is it just that he found out that the work it was subcontracted for was originally contracted to his bosses at a higher rate?

If the first, then you need legal advice on how to force them to pay what they owe.
If the second then all is well with the world and we can all move along. If he didn’t want to do the work for $x/hr he shouldn’t have signed the contract. Finding out that his bosses signed at $x+y/hr should make no difference to this.

thebrownstreak6911:28 am 23 Apr 13

Henry82 said :

1. Never believe anything from an employer until it’s in writing.
2. Refer to existing contract.
3. Read point 2 again.

My advice; finish the job/contract, work elsewhere.

+1. Best advice on the thread.

1. Never believe anything from an employer until it’s in writing.
2. Refer to existing contract.
3. Read point 2 again.

My advice; finish the job/contract, work elsewhere.

Sorry to sound harsh here but he is being underpaid or cheated on his wages. He is a subcontractor not an employee. Two totally different things.

An employee that works for wages gets either a hourly rate or salary plus benefits like leave entitlements, workers comp and superannuation.

A ‘subcontractor’ gets none of these and generally includes GST plus a allowance for workers comp, sick leave, etc in his hourly rate or ‘job’ cost. He/she is wholly responsible for the outcome of the work they are performing including defects and rectification work. He/she supplies P/L and W/comp. he:she is also not working for the same company for a period of time and is free to work for other companies.

A ‘sham contractor’ is someone that is employed on a hourly rate and submits a bill every week/fortnight or month. It may include GST or not. He/she works for the company for a period of time and is not able to work for anyone else ie the boss calls the shots. They may or may not hold Workers Comp or P/L insurance.

Either way a contractor or a sham contractor doesn’t have a leg to stand on. The employer can terminate the employment without notice and rates are normally negotiated between the two parties.

My suggestion would be to leave and seek employment as a employee with another company or negotiate to become a employee with the current company.

As a side note;

– A ‘sham contractor’ as a site supervisor is able to be sued if someone is hurt on site.
– As at the 30th June this year all construction companies must supply the ATO with a list of every sub contractor they have paid in the last financial year. Including names, addresses, ABN and a total of GST collected.

If your partner is really dirty with this situation he could always contact union.


gungsuperstar said :

Chalk it up as “I was right, you were wrong” to your partner.

Apologise immediately!

gungsuperstar7:55 pm 22 Apr 13

Chalk it up as “I was right, you were wrong” to your partner. If I knew for sure that we were talking about construction, I would say that not only is it allowed – but this is how many “project managers” model their business.

Think of it this way – would it be any different if a “project manager” was outsourcing to 5 different subbies, rather than just to your partner? They’d still be taking a huge cut for the work they’re doing.

It’s no different mate, it’s how they make money. (it’s not ‘no work’ – they’re accepting WHS responsibility and liability, they’re also sorting out the tax, probably providing materials etc… hard to know exactly without knowing the industry we’re talking about.)

I know you asked us to be nice, so I’m sorry – but your partner is a chump. I’d suggest the reason that the contractor bothered with a contract for which they’d only hire one subbie is because it made more financial sense to do so.

Take this as me saying “I’d hazard a guess that your old man is under charging, and in doing so has left himself wide open to being legally exploited.”

FWBC and FWO won’t help you here – the only possible wrong-doing that I can gather from your story is if there has been cartel behaviour in the awarding of the contract. Or if the relationship between the supervisor and the boss is dodgy. But neither of these instances help your partner. I don’t know a hell of a lot about contract law, but I just don’t think your partner could prove that an agreement existed between himself and his boss.

Tell him to a) listen to you in the future when you say “get this in writing”, and b) up his rate. I can’t fathom that any project manager would bother with a job so tiny that it only requires one subbie – as I said, the only reason you would ever do that is if the subbie is so cheap that you can exploit him or her.

I don’t understand…. My head hurts….

Anyhoo… Doesn’t matter what the boss gets paid, at the end of the day your other half needs a contract in place wi a dollar amount. Without it not much FWBC can do, as long as he’s paid above the award.

Contractors elsewhere don’t complain when the recruitment agency gets paid $80 an hour to employ you but only pass on $26 per hour.

That’s life ! He clearly doesn’t have an issue with what he gets paid

If the company contracts out to him, are they really his boss?

Legalaid is free for a consult

What are the terms of the contact and what has he done to get paid more?

If they’re cheating him then why not just find another job and publicly shame them?

Let me see if I read this correctly. You husbands supervisor at work and another supervisor, got a contract themselves not the company they both work for??????

Your hubbies boss advised your husband that he will pay him $20-25.00 an hour extra on top of what he is getting from the actual company that your husbands getting paid now.

But your husband has not seen any of the extra money. So is basically doing this work for the supervisor for nothing but getting paid for doing no work for the supervisors employee???????

Personally I would talk to the supervisor if he gets no satisfaction go Higher up. What a horrid greedy man the supervisor is raking in the money. And yes your hubby should have got it documented.

Girt_Hindrance6:03 pm 22 Apr 13

Third paragraph: That was the longest sentence that I’ve ever read, seriously unbelievable stuff right there.

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd3:59 pm 22 Apr 13

Thats how contracting works. Its not about getting a equal share of the profit if you are a subby.

the only way for your partner to come away with more money is to either threaten to not work for them anymore unless he gets a better price or get the big contracts himself then he can have all the profit.

If he is in the building industry, contact Fair Work Building & Construction (www.fwbc.gov.au) and if he is in another industy, contact the Fair Work Ombudsman (www.fwo.gov.au)

In checking the first link to see if it was correct, I saw that the lead story on their website is about recovering 10K for a Queanbeyan worker, so if there is a claim then they can probably help out.

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