Fair Work Ombudsman

Australian Grape & Wine members are advised that the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) will be undertaking compliance audits in South Australia, Victoria and Western Australian vineyards.

The FWO has indicated its Inspectors will commence vineyard visits in June 2021 around the time that pruning is underway, and further inspections will be undertaken during the vintage 2022 grape harvest.

The Fair Work Inspectors intend to undertake audits and interviews with vineyard and labour hire business owners and employees, to assess compliance with the Fair Work Act 2009, the Fair Work Regulations 2009, the Wine Industry Award 2020 and any applicable Enterprise Agreements. They will be particularly focused on:

  • underpayment of hourly rates;
  • the application of overtime to casual employees;
  • piecework arrangements (operationalising the FWO guide to piecework arrangements);
  • pay slip and record keeping obligations; and
  • payroll deductions.

FWO Inspectors must show their identity card to the vineyard owner/manager, when they are seeking to enter a site and comply with all vineyard biosecurity measures.

AGW recommends that vineyard owners/managers should take this opportunity to review the legal requirements of contracting labour providers to undertake short term tasks such as pruning, vine training, vintage etc. Consideration of legislation (Fair Work Act 2009, the Fair Work Regulations 2009 and the Wine Industry Award 2020) and state labour hire licensing regulations if you are in South Australia, Victoria or Queensland, is relevant. The FWO website also has some helpful guides for large and small businesses, to help employers through the process of securing contract labour that is compliant with workplace laws.

If vineyard owners/managers have any questions about their rights in relation to FWO Inspector site visits, or the powers of Fair Work Inspectors, please contact your relevant state wine association, (SA Wine Industry Assoc; WineTas; Wine Victoria; Wines of WA; NSW Wine Industry Assoc; Queensland Wine) and they can provide advice or direct you to other relevant state business advisory bodies.

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