Two child care workers were paid no wages for a year in what the regulator calls an unpaid work experience scam.
Their employer is now facing the Federal Circuit Court for allegedly failing to comply with a Fair Work Commission order to repay the workers.
Child care workers paid no wages for a year
Jan Shang owns and operates ‘Joys Child Care’ centre in Sydney.
He paid the two workers from China nothing, despite them working at the centre between February 2016 and February 2017.
Shang told the women he had engaged them under an unpaid work experience scheme, and as such, promised to pay their childcare course at a local training institute.
However, the arrangement was a scam.
Shang failed to pay the pair a total of $54,752 in wages, public holiday and annual leave entitlements.
Shang faces fines of up to $6,300, while his company, Joys Childcare Limited, faces a maximum penalty of $31,500.
Unpaid work experience rules
Miles Heffernan, Director of Litigation at IR Claims, says unpaid work experience can be a legitimate part of a training course, but it should only last a short time.
“A few weeks practical work experience is fine, but after that, workers should be paid,” he said.
“To not pay someone who performs works for an entire year is a joke, and blatant exploitation.
“Work experience is about learning, and gaining practical experience, it’s not about providing free labour for an employer.”
Women performed productive work
Fair Work determined the women performed productive work for the childcare centre, with little or no supervision.
As a result, their correct classification is an “employee”, not work experience students undertaking a vocational placement.
The Federal Circuit Court has the matter listed for a directions on 18 June 18.
Please call our team at Industrial Relations Claims today on