A Sydney-based mortgage broker is facing court after allegedly paying a nanny just $2.33 an hour.
Kit (Tony) Lam is accused of forcing the Filipino woman to work between 88 to 106 hours each week between May 2016 and May 2017.
The wage theft totalled a staggering $155,178.
Additionally, the Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Lam underpaid the 26 year-old nanny
- base rates and penalty rates
- for early morning and night hours, overtime hours and public holidays.
Lam’s wife, Ming (Tiffanie) Tong, is also facing court for allegedly requiring the nanny to work unreasonable additional hours beyond 38 hours a week.
Mortgage broker hired worker from Philippines
Fair Work claims that agents for Mr Lam hired the woman from the Philippines.
She lived with the couple and their two children in the Sydney CBD for a year.
Mr Lam paid the nanny 40,000 Philippine pesos a month into her Philippines-based bank account.
For her 12 months, she received the equivalent of $12,574 Australian dollars, which works out to just $2.33 an hour.
However, she should have received between $17.29 and $18.91 an hour, and up to $37.82 for overtime hours.
Scale of alleged underpayments ‘concerning’
Fair Work inspectors investigated after receiving anonymous reports about the worker’s conditions.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker says:
“We allege the worker in this case was vulnerable to exploitation given she was new to Australia, resided with Mr Lam and his family, and did not know what her workplace rights were.
The scale of the alleged underpayments and the unreasonable work hours are concerning.”
More enforcement ‘a good thing’
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from WAGETHEFT.net.au welcomed the court action.
“It’s good to see the Fair Work Ombudsman investigate and take legal action against these alleged wage thieves,” he said.
“Whether you’re working in a restaurant or a cafe, or working for a couple looking after their children, you should always be paid what you are legally entitled to.”
Mr and Ms Lam are due to appear before a Case Management Hearing in October.
The Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking orders for the nanny to be back-paid in full plus interest and for penalties to be imposed on Mr Lam.
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