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UnderpaymentsNovember 7, 2014
A former fish and chip shop in Albury NSW has blamed bushfires, illness and issues with overseas bank accounts for the underpayment of three staff members. The staff were paid a flat rate of $1,000 a week even though they worked more than 50 hours a week for well over a year.
Ian Andrews the former employer of Thurgoona Takeaway has had to pay personal fines of $15,048 and his company Barry Scott Distributers Pty Ltd has been penalised $79,942. The back payments made to the three staff members totalled $69,932. Judge Tom Altobelli found the ‘significant underpayments were very reckless’ and it was made apparent that Andrews had ‘deliberately underpaid his staff’. He did not meet the minimum wage entitlements, pay any contributions to his staff’s superannuation or any overtime payments.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has had a long history of non-compliance with Andrews and had been perusing the underpayments for over 18 months. This time period reassured the Federal Court that Andrews actions were not law abiding. He had several opportunities to rectify the underpayments, and because there was no apparent apology to the three staff members or any precise actions to cooperate with the investigation, Andrews case was viewed by the courts as particularly serious.
Employers like Andrews feel the full force of the law when they do not take the right steps in rectifying a fault in business practices. The Fair Work Act must be abided by and employers will be caught out if they do not know their employees entitlements.
If you have any questions on the Fair Work Act or need clarification that you have the most up to date policies and procedures in place call Employsure today on 1300 651 415 or fill in the form below.