The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced action in the Federal Circuit Court against the former operator of a civil construction business based in Wyong.
Facing court is MDP Labour Pty Ltd, which provided services such as laying pipes and associated earthmoving.
The Regulator investigated the company after receiving a request for assistance from a young worker who had been employed by the company as a labourer.
A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to MDP Labour in May 2020 after forming a belief that the company had not paid the employee his full lawful entitlements.
The Inspector believed that the employee, aged 21, had been underpaid public holiday pay and annual leave entitlements under the National Employment Standards.
The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges that the company, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice which required it to calculate and back pay the worker’s entitlements.
In line with the Ombudsman’s proportionate approach to regulation during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ombudsman made several attempts to secure voluntary compliance before commencing legal action.
Fair Work Ombudsman, Sandra Parker, said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take businesses to court where lawful requests were not complied with.
“Under the Fair Work Act, Compliance Notices are important tools used by inspectors if they form a belief that an employer has breached workplace laws,” Parker said.
“Where employers do not comply with our requests, we will take appropriate action to protect employees.
“A court can order the 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.”
The Ombudsman is seeking a penalty against MDP Labour Pty Ltd.
The Regulator is also seeking a court order for the company to comply with the Compliance Notice which includes rectifying any under payments in full, plus superannuation and interest.
The company faces a maximum penalty of $31,500 and the matter is listed for a directions hearing in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney on February 2.
Information Source: Media release, Jan 11, 2020, Fair Work Ombudsman