Company fined $33,000 for underpaying a labourer

The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a court ordered penalty against the former operator of a civil construction business based in Wyong.

The Federal Circuit Court has imposed a $33,000 penalty against MDP Labour Pty Ltd, which provided services such as laying pipes and associated earthmoving.

At the time of the contraventions, MDP Labour was contracted to provide services on behalf of NBN Co Ltd.

The penalty, which was the maximum available, was imposed in response to the company failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring it to calculate and backpay entitlements owing to a former employee.

The Court heard that the former employee, then aged 20, had been employed by the company as a labourer since he was 16.

In addition to the penalty, the Court has ordered MDP Labour to comply with the Compliance Notice, which includes rectifying underpayments in full, plus superannuation and to pay interest.

Fair Work Ombudsman, Sandra Parker, said companies that failed to act on Compliance Notices faced court imposed penalties, in addition to having to backpay underpaid staff.

“We make every effort to secure voluntary compliance with Compliance Notices but where they are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure that workers receive all their lawful entitlements.

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance,” Parker said.

The Fair Work Ombudsman investigated MDP Labour after receiving a request for assistance from the affected worker.

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 had been underpaid public holiday pay and annual leave entitlements under the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards in his final pay.

Media release, May 25
Fair Work Ombudsman