Civil Construction company fined for failing to act on FWO compliance notice
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has secured a $20,000 penalty in the Federal Circuit Court against a Gold Coast based civil works company for failing to comply with a Compliance Notice issued by the agency. The penalty is in addition to the requirement to backpay entitlements to a former employee.
Following a complaint, the FWO investigated an allegation against TKN Civil Works 2019 Pty Ltd that they had failed to pay an employee accrued annual leave and leave loading when his employment ended in 2020.
Subsequently, a Fair Work inspector issued a Compliance Notice to the company compelling them to recalculate and rectify the underpayment and pay interest. The company failed to do so.
According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, Sandra Parker, the case is a timely reminder of the sanctions, and additional penalties businesses can face if they do not cooperate with the FWO. As she commented, “When Compliance Notices are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive their legal entitlements. Any employees who have concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance.”
Investigating complaints and enforcing compliance with Australian workplace laws is one of the agency’s major functions. This includes full compliance by employers to pay all employees correct entitlements under the relevant federal award, an existing enterprise agreement, or any of the conditions contained within the National Employment Standards (NES).
In the financial year 2019/20, the FWO mediated 1808 disputes resulting in the recovery of $4.3m in unpaid entitlements, as well as undertaking 2370 investigations leading to the recovery of $5.8m in unpaid entitlements.
A new focus of the agency is to investigate ‘sham contracting’, which occurs when a person working as an employee is told they’re an independent contractor and they’re not.
Both employers and employees can seek free assistance from the FWO via their web address www.fairwork.gov.au or by phoning the agency on 13 13 94.
For queries about the Fair Work Ombudsman, the NES, or any other employment questions, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 1300 925 529, 0417 622 178 or via email to email@example.com
Disclaimer: This information is provided as general advice on workplace relations and employment law. It does not constitute legal advice, and it is always advisable to seek further information regarding specific workplace issues. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.