The Employment Advocate Jonathan Hamberger has failed to properly apply a “no disadvantage test” to thousands of individual contracts processed through his office.

The Employment Advocate has admitted to the Senate Estimates inquiry in Canberra that he had simply relied on the word of employers that individual contracts passed the test, which is designed to ensure workers who sign up earn at least as much as the minimum award rate.

“Jonathan Hamberger has failed thousands of workers. His actions confirm that the Office of the Employment Advocate can’t be trusted. The OEA has deliberately delegated scrutiny of contracts to employers to speed up the rate at which individual contracts are approved and processed,” said ACTU Secretary Greg Combet.

“The ACTU is concerned it may be the case that some contracts are being approved without being signed by the employee. It appears that the OEA, a government authority, is bending the rules to fulfil the government’s political objective,” Mr Combet said.

“Employees on contract will now be wondering who they can trust to make sure their wages and conditions aren’t being pushed down below minimum award rates. “

The ACTU calls on the Employment Advocate to immediately clarify the procedures he has adopted, so employees can have some confidence they are being treated fairly.