A Brisbane supermarket operator has been penalised $20,500 for wage theft.
The Fair Work Ombudsman commenced litigation after the employer ignored a Compliance Notice requiring them to back-pay a worker.
Brisbane supermarket operator penalised
Songbo (Alex) Yang runs the Universal Asian Supermarket at South Bank in Brisbane.
The Federal Circuit and Family Court penalised Yang $3,500 and his company an additional $17,000 for failing to comply with the Compliance Notice.
The wage theft
Fair Work commenced an investigation following a wage theft complaint from a student visa holder from China.
The young woman worked at the supermarket from June 2019 to September 2020.
An inspector soon suspected Yang paid the worker illegal flat rates of $12 per hour.
As a result, the employee missed out on the proper minimum wage, evening and weekend penalties, in addition to overtime rates and public holiday pay.
Yang also failed to pay accrued annual leave on termination of the worker’s employment.
Brisbane supermarket operator ignored Compliance Notice
The inspector subsequently issued Yang with a Compliance Notice requiring him to calculate the underpayments and back-pay the worker in full.
However, he failed to do so.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said business operators who ignore Compliance Notices will face court-imposed penalties in addition to having to back-pay workers.
“When Compliance Notices are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive their lawful entitlements.”
NEXT READ Compliance Notices
Compliance Notices not optional
Meanwhile, industrial advocate Miles Heffernan said Compliance Notices are not optional for employers.
“These notices are a chance for an employer to rectify wage theft without facing a financial penalty,” he said.
“Unless the regulator has made a mistake, bosses should always act quickly to comply with Compliance Notices.”
Meanwhile, Fair Work said visa holder workers made up 32 percent of its court actions in 2020-21.
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