Fair Work Ombudsman pursues plumbing contractor for underpayment of wages

Fair Work Ombudsman pursues plumbing contractor for underpayment of wages

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has commenced legal proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court against a Western Sydney plumbing business for allegedly underpaying minimum entitlements to a teenage worker.

The Federal regulator commenced an investigation into the business after receiving a request from an 18 year old worker who had been employed as a plumbing and mechanical services worker for a ten day period in November 2020.

After initial enquiries, a Fair Work inspector determined that the former employee had not received correct entitlements in accordance with the relevant federal industrial award being the Plumbing and Fire Sprinklers Award 2010. In particular, he believed that the former worker was entitled to the minimum payment for a casual worker as well as an industry allowance.

Consequently, the inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Mr Jones in February 2021.

The FWO is responsible for promoting compliance with Australian workplace laws and educating employers and employees about rights and responsibilities at work.

The regulator claims that without a reasonable excuse, the employer failed to comply with the directions contained within the Compliance Notice, which required him to calculate, and then back pay the former worker’s entitlements.

The Fair Work Ombudsman, Ms Sandra Parker, reiterated the role the regulator plays in being prepared to take businesses to court in situations where lawful requests are not complied with.

As she commented, “Where employers do not comply with our requests, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can order a business to pay penalties in addition to back-paying workers. Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance”.

A directions order has been listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney on 12 August 2021.

Media Release (12 July 2021) – Plumbing business operator faces court

For questions about award compliance, the Fair Work Ombudsman, or other employment questions, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 1300 WAL LAW, 0417 622 178 or via email to dean.cameron@workforceadvisory.com.au

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.

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