Payment of Wages – Underpayment

Payment of Wages – Underpayment

A former petrol station operator has been handed a $123,000 fine by the Federal Court for underpaying two employees This was after the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) initiated legal action due to the operator not acting on the court orders earlier this year to back pay the staff.

The Ombudsman alleged the petrol station underpaid two employees amounts of $21,637 and $25,621 respectively between 2008 and 2013.

The employees were paid flat hourly rates ranging from $10 to $15.96 for all hours worked with no loadings or overtime. The operator also failed to maintain adequate record-keeping and did not provide pay slips.

The judge finding in favour of the FWO stated “The breaches were extensive and resulted in proportionately significant underpayments to each employee and the failure to provide pay slips affected the employees’ ability to obtain finance”. Given the low income they were being paid, they needed to seek additional income to enable them to meet day to day living.

The Judge said that the business had made “no effort to co-operate with the Fair Work Ombudsman”, had “shown no contrition” and had shown “flagrant disregard” for court orders to back-pay the workers earlier this year.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said in a statement that deliberately underpaying workers and then refusing to rectify the underpayments will not be tolerated by her office.

This is yet another example of employers being found out not paying staff correctly and of their situation worsening due to poor record keeping.

HR Central will identify these possible underpayments and provide a clear path to resolution. We can provide you with the right tools to meet your payment and  record keeping requirements.

Michael O'Shaughnessy

Michael is a specialist in all things HR. With vast HR experience in the USA and Australia, Michael brings a wealth of knowledge and advice to HR Central. When he's not blogging for HR Central you can find him out for dinner in one of Melbourne's newest restaurants.

Related Posts