The campaign comes after a high number of complaints to the Fair Work Ombudsman from child care workers over recent years.
In 2012-13, there were almost 400 complaints from child care workers, leading to 123 workers being repaid about $255,000 in wages.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said inspectors will to educate and help businesses, particularly those small businesses which don’t have the benefit of in-house HR staff, about how to comply with workplace laws.
“As part of the campaign we have written to 14,000 child care businesses across Australia to advise them of the tools and resources available from the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website at www.fairwork.gov.au/childcare, and we have provided them with materials specifically tailored for the industry that will support self-compliance into the future,” Ms James said.
“We’re encouraging all employers in the industry to conduct their own self-audit of compliance with workplace law, particularly payment of wages, using the resources and information we have provided.”
Ms James said the child care sector was a major employer in Australia, with about 140,000 employees, 96 percent of whom are female and about a quarter of them are young workers, aged up to 24.
“We are mindful that this is an industry which employs large numbers of young people who can be considered vulnerable in the workplace because they may not be fully aware of their entitlements or where to go for information and advice,” Ms James said.
The campaign will focus on Long Day Care Centres, which represents about half the industry. It will also include audits of Preschools, Out-of-School Hours Care/Vacation Care and Occasional Care Centres. It does not include centres operated by local government, as this is outside the Fair Work Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.