Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission

Specific amount needed to deduct money under 'return of service' clause

The Industrial Magistrate has partially upheld a claim made by an employee regarding deductions from the final payment of wages, unpaid annual leave and personal leave. The employer argued that they were owed an amount by the employee to cover training costs that were paid by the employer.

The employer relied on a 'return of service' clause in the contract of employment and argued that it entitled them to recoup costs of training from the final payment after the employee resigned their position. Industrial Magistrate Scaddan found that the employer was in breach of s. 324 of the Fair Work Act 2009 as there must be a written authorisation to deduct that specifies the amount of the deduction. There can be no blanket authorisation of the type contained within the particular contract of employment relied upon by the employer.

Scaddan IM ordered that the employee be paid a sum that includes the final payment of normal hours of pay, public holiday pay, untaken annual leave and personal leave.

The decision can be read here.

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