STUDENTS REIMBURSED THOUSANDS IN UNPAID WORK
13 November 2015,
A GROUP of high school students in Queensland have been reimbursed thousands of dollars for work they undertook as part of school-based traineeships.
The year 11 and 12 students, aged between 15 and 18, completed work placement with local employers to attain a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification and Higher School Certificate (HSC).
The 20 students from schools in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, were collectively short-changed almost $28,000.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has ordered the return of $16,000 to 12 Brisbane students, $6300 to five Gold Coast students and $5500 to three Sunshine Coast students.
A Gold Coast-based group training organisation facilitated the vocational courses for students through their schools, including traineeships across a range of disciplines.
As part of the traineeship, students were required to work one day a week over several months last year at sporting organisations, schools, retailers and childcare centres.
The businesses acted as 'hosts' only, with the training organisation responsible for ensuring the students received their minimum wages and entitlements.
The organisation failed to pay the students any wages, penalty rates or annual leave entitlements despite receiving public funding to roll out the program.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the organisation has now been educated about its obligations under federal workplace laws.
She urged any Queensland employers unsure about their workplace obligations to contact the agency for advice.
A Letter of Caution has been issued to the training organisation to ensure future compliance.