The operator of a printing business is facing court action after allegedly ignoring an order by the Fair Work Ombudsman to back pay 14 migrant workers almost $230,000.
The Compliance Notice had been issued by Fair Work last year – which required the company to back pay the workers by August.
Lloyd Lam and his company Mega Tabs Services allegedly failed to back pay $229,564 to the 14 workers, who were from Korea and working in Australia on 417 working holiday visas.
They were allegedly paid a flat hourly rate of $13 to cut, glue and assemble paper and cardboard at the company’s Alexandria business in inner-Sydney between November 2013 and November 2015.
The alleged illegal flat rates resulted in underpayments of minimum rates of pay, casual loadings, shift allowances, public holiday penalty rates and overtime rates which they were entitled to under the Graphic Arts, Printing and Publishing Award.
The workers should have been paid between $20.63 and $21.69 an hour, and penalty rates of up to $54 an hour.
According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, one individual worker is allegedly owed a staggering $36,666.
Compliance notice issued instead of court action
When the wage theft was discovered last year, Fair Work inspectors decided to issue the company with a Compliance Notice instead of commencing court action.
Lam and his company were given until the 27th of August to back pay the workers, but it has allegedly failed to do so.
Fair Work gets it ‘wrong yet again’
Miles Heffernan, Litigation Director at WAGETHEFT.net.au, said the Fair Work Ombudsman should have taken court action from the very beginning.
“Here we are talking about a company that has allegedly stolen more than 200 grand from its workers – and all the workplace watchdog does is issue them with a notice to pay back the workers – they’ve got it wrong yet again,” he said.
“The Fair Work Ombudsman should have hauled Mr Lam and his company before the courts when these alleged underpayments were first discovered, and if found guilty of the theft that he is accused of, he should have felt the full force of the law.
“This is yet more evidence that the federal government needs to take serious action on wage theft and make it a criminal offence, so greedy bosses end up with criminal convictions and jail sentences – until then, expect to see tens of thousands of workers in Australia continue to have their wages stolen.”
The Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking orders for Mr Lam and his company to pay the $229,564, plus interest.
The company faces penalties of up to $31,500 and Mr Lam up to $6,300.
A directions hearing is scheduled in the Federal Circuit Court on the 17th of June.
If you have not received your proper wages and entitlements, or are considering legal action to recover stolen wages, we can help.
Please call our specialist team at WAGETHEFT.net.au on
1300 1 THEFT (1300 184 338)
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