A 19 year old female was employed by a small deli in a country town on a part time basis between 3 November 2005 and 10 July 2007.The employer had a good working relationship with the employee, and in December 2006 lent the employee $400.
During April 2007 the employee was experiencing a difficult period in her personal life that impacted on her ability to commit fully to her job at the deli. The employer became frustrated on the unreliability of the employee and discussed options with her in regard to her employment that resulted in the employee agreeing to change from part time to casual employment in May 2007.
During the following two months, the working relationship worsened. On 26 June 2007, the employer provided a note to the employee indicating the intention to deduct the amount owing for the loan of $400 out of the next pay. The employee’s wages for that period was $420. The payslip provided to the employee indicated the deduction as ‘loan’. The employee did not provide approval for the employer to deduct the amount from wages and was solely a decision made by the employer. On 10 July 2007, the employer dismissed the employee.
It is illegal for an employer to deduct any amount from the wages of an employee, without written consent from the employee. If the employee has not provided that consent and makes a formal complaint to SafeWork SA, then the employer can face an investigation by an Industrial Relations Inspector and possible legal action by SafeWork SA for a breach of Section 68 (6) of the Fair Work Act 1994.
Last updated: 21 October, 2010
Employers and employees within South Australia can contact their local SafeWork SA office, or the Help Centre, for the cost of a local call. This service is available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8.30am to 5.30pm, and on Wednesdays from 8.30am to 4.15pm (excluding public holidays)