A construction company is facing court for allegedly underpaying a labourer.
The Fair Work Ombudsman also alleges the company ignored a Compliance Notice requiring it to back-pay the worker.
Construction company facing court
Facing court is MDP Labour Pty Ltd, based in Wyong in NSW, which provides services such as laying pipes and earthmoving.
Fair Work commenced an investigation following a complaint from the worker.
An inspector believed the company underpaid the 21 year-old employee his public holiday pay and annual leave entitlements.
As a result, the inspector issued MDP Labour with a Compliance Notice in May 2020 requiring it to calculate and back-pay the worker.
However, the regulator alleges, without reasonable excuse, the company failed to comply with the Notice.
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from WAGETHEFT.net.au said there is no excuse for wage theft.
“Businesses that cannot afford to pay proper wages and entitlements should not be in business,” he said.
“While this matter is to be determined by the court, we believe there is an urgent need for criminal penalties for wage theft to deter greedy bosses from ripping off their workers.”
Fair Work defends Compliance Notices
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said her agency will continue to enforce workplace laws and take businesses to court, despite the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“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.
“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.”
Fair Work is seeking penalties against MDP Labour.
The regulator is also seeking a court order for the company to rectify the underpayments in full, plus superannuation and interest.
The company faces a maximum penalty of $31,500.
The Federal Circuit Court in Sydney has a directions hearing listed on 2 February 2021.
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