A Victorian massage parlour operator has been penalised $19,100 for underpaying a Chinese worker $13,552.
The employer also admitted to providing false records to the Fair Work Ombudsman in a bid to cover up to wage theft.
Massage parlour operator penalised
Austop Natural Therapy and Supplies Pty Ltd formerly operated massage parlours called ‘Yin’s Chinese Traditional Massage’ in Bacchus Marsh and Ballarat.
The Federal Circuit Court penalised the company $8,500 and director Yusen Yin and secretary Wenhua Liu an additional $2,800 each.
Fair Work commenced an investigation into the parlour following a complaint from the worker.
Between December 2016 and July 2017, Yin and Liu paid the worker a percentage of the price of each massage she performed, rather than hourly rates of pay.
As a result, the business underpaid her:
- minimum hourly rates;
- overtime rates;
- weekend and public holiday penalty rates;
- superannuation; and
- annual leave entitlements.
The company also failed to ensure the employee did not work on more than six consecutive days in breach of the award.
It also failed to issue any pay slips.
Furthermore, Austop Natural Therapy gave inspectors falsified time and wage records and pay slips.
Judge Alistair McNab described the underpayments as “significant”.
He also criticised the company’s accounting firm, Keith Golding & Associates Pty Ltd, for its role in preparing the false records.
“I have imposed higher penalties in respect of record keeping and payslip provision contraventions because a failure to comply with those provisions makes it very difficult for an employee to determine what their rate of pay is and whether they are being properly paid.”
As a result, the court imposed a $5,000 penalty on the accounting firm.
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