A plastics manufacturing company has been penalised for failing to back-pay workers.
The Federal Circuit Court penalised Delahill Pty Ltd, which trades as ABCO Plastics at Guildford in Sydney, $15,000.
Additionally, the court also penalised one of its directors, Guilherme Roque Rebello, $3,000.
Company penalised for failing to back-pay workers
The Fair Work Ombudsman first investigated the company following complaints from the two employees, a husband and wife.
The couple, aged in their 50s, are Sri Lankan in Australia on bridging visas.
Inspectors found the company paid unlawful low flat hourly rates of just $6.50 per hour during a probation period, later increasing to $13 to $14.
The company failed to pay the proper hourly rates of more than $17 for ordinary hours and up to $32 for overtime.
The wage theft totalled a whopping $76,498 for the woman for work she performed between January 2010 and September 2014.
It totalled $10,197 for the man for work he performed between July 2009 and June 2010.
What the court found
The Court found Delahill failed to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring it to back-pay the couple by $86,695 by 30 April 2015.
Judge Robert Cameron described the sums owed to the couple as a “significant amount” that also had a “significant effect” on them.
“[The couple] deposed that they felt sad and stressed working for such low wages and struggled to meet their living expenses and buy food.
“Instead of accepting responsibility for the underpayment on behalf of Delahill, Mr Rebello instead blamed [the couple] for accepting the underpayments.”
What Fair Work says
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said her agency made extensive efforts to resolve the matter outside of court.
She also said, as a result of a lack of co-operation from the company, the regulator had no choice but to commence legal action.
“Under the Fair Work Act, business operators must adhere to our Compliance Notices.
“We took court action after the company provided no reasonable excuse for its failure to make the back-payments.
“Failing to comply with our notices undermines the integrity of the workplace relations system.
“We will continue to take legal action to ensure that employees receive the back-pay they are entitled to.”
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