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Sydney media exploits interns

UnderpaymentsNovember 12, 2015

Sydney media exploits interns (Last Updated On: November 12, 2015)

A media company based in Sydney is facing court after the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) found it was running an unlawful intern program and had underpaid two workers more than $18,000.

AIMG BQ Pty Ltd is a website and publications company targeted towards Australia’s Chinese community. One of their employees was an international student from China, who was studying a Master of Event Management at the University of Technology. Allegedly, it was unlawful for her internship to be unpaid because the student was performing productive work, which was not a formal part of her university studies. The second employee was also originally from China but a permanent Australian resident.

The two workers were employed as event coordinators and paid a flat rate of $100.00 a day, or $13.33 an hour. This amount is not enough to cover the minimum hourly rates and entitlements for employees under the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010.

AIMG BQ Pty Ltd supposedly required the workers to perform an internship of 180 hours of unpaid casual work, over a four month period before it began paying wages.

However, under the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010 the workers were entitled to more than $19.00 an hour for normal working hours and up to $38.30 for overtime, weekends and public holidays.

The company allegedly breach regulations multiple times and now faces the maximum penalty of up to $51,000 per contravention. In addition, Director Zhao Qing Jiang faces a maximum penalty of up to $10,200 for just one of the  alleged breaches.

Employers must be aware that they are at risk of breaching workplace legislation if they use unpaid work schemes as a source of cheap labour. If you are an employer who currently employs interns and are unsure if you are following the correct employment obligations, call Employsure today on 1300 651 415.

Soured via the Fair Work Ombudsman

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