A security company has been penalised $81,270 after it underpaid guards by more than $200,000.
In the Federal Court, Justice Michael Barker said there is no excuse for underpayments, even if they are unintentional.
Security company penalised
Perth-based Sureguard Security Pty Ltd underpaid the security guards between December 2014 and January 2016.
13 of the guards worked permanent night shifts.
Fair Work inspectors found Sureguard paid the workers unlawful flat hourly rates of:
- between $21.50 and $24 for static guard work
- and $25 for patrol work.
As a result, they didn’t receive:
- minimum hourly rates,
- casual loadings,
- overtime pay and
- penalty rates for night, weekend and public holiday work
under the Security Services Industry Award.
Underpayments of individual workers ranged from $227 to a whopping $20,174.
Company slammed for ‘lame excuse’
The company told the court it thought paying flat rates above lawful minimum rates would make up for the different rates of pay for other periods.
Justice Michael Barker slammed that as “a lame excuse”.
Furthermore, he said there is no excuse for underpayments, even if they are unintentional.
The company has since back-paid 22 security guards a total of $205,408.
It has also increased the wages of remaining employees, in addition to introducing strategies to stop the problem happening again.
Wage theft doesn’t pay
Miles Heffernan, Litigation Director at IR Claims, says the case is proof that wage theft doesn’t pay.
“This is another wake up call for employers to do the right thing by their employees, by paying the minimum award conditions,” he said.
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