FWO sees red over alleged underpayments at painting business

The operator of a painting business in Brisbane is set to face the Federal Circuit Court for alleged underpayments committed against two employees.

Set to face court is sole trader Michael Ross, who operated the business, who was involved in the underpayments of the workers in January 2020.

It is alleged that one of the employees was paid $150 for all hours worked, including a $30 fuel allowance, and the other worker was not paid at all, violations under the Building and Construction General On-site Award 2010.

A Compliance Notice was issued for contraventions of the minimum wage, casual loading, special allowance and industry allowance requirements under the award. However, the FWO allege that Ross, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the notice which required him to calculate and back-pay the workers’ entitlements.

“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,” Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said. “Where employers do not comply with our requests, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can order a business to pay penalties in addition to back-paying workers.

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance,” Parker added.

The FWO is seeking penalties of up to $6300 against Ross for failing to comply with the Compliance Notice. It also seeks a court order for Ross to take the action required by the Compliance Notice.

A directions hearing has been listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane on 1 March 2021.

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