Fair Work Ombudsman prosecutes piecework case

Mushroom pickers.

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is prosecuting a case under the Horticultural Award, which could have wide implications for piece rates — where a worker is paid for the units produced or actions performed rather than an hourly rate.

The case centres on the alleged underpayment of more than 400 mushroom pickers at a farm south of Brisbane in 2014.

FWO said under the Horticulture Award 2010 a piece rate should allow a worker to earn at least the minimum hourly rate plus 15%.

It alleged labour hire company HRS Country failed to pay minimum award rates for adult and junior workers, holiday pay, casual loadings and rest breaks.

The case continues.

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