The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has commenced legal action against Sydney contractor Green Clean (Aust) Pty Ltd and company secretary/sole director Michael Girowal for allegedly underpaying two international students almost $3,000.
The 29 February press release said this follows the company’s failure to ‘comply with a formal compliance notice requesting it back-pay two employees a total of $2,943 in outstanding wages and entitlements.
‘The employees were in Australia on student visas when they were allegedly underpaid their minimum hourly rates, penalty rates, an allowance, annual leave entitlements and wages in lieu of notice of termination between December 2014 and January 2015.’
In December last year, the FWO issued a compliance notice requiring Green Clean to rectify the alleged underpayment, but it did not comply. This opposes the Fair Work Act, under which business operators must adhere to compliance notices or make a court application for a review.
FWO Natalie James said inspectors made extensive efforts to resolve the matter by agreement, but did not receive sufficient cooperation. “We prefer to assist employers to rectify non-compliance issues, but we are prepared to take legal action against employers who refuse to engage with us,” she noted.
Mr Girowal faces a maximum penalty of $5,400 and Green Clean (Aust) Pty Ltd faces a maximum penalty of $27,000.
The FWO is also seeking court orders for Green Clean to back-pay the employees in full.