Penalties issued to underpaying former childcare operator

A company that formerly operated a Gold Coast childcare centre was penalised $45,000 by the Federal Circuit and Family Court for the underpayment of its workers.

The court also imposed a court order against Kids Academy Hope Island Pty Ltd, which formerly operated the Kids Academy Hope Island childcare centre, to back-pay its workers a total of $250,290.35 in redundancy entitlements owed to them.

The company is also ordered to calculate and rectify underpayments to one worker who is owed pay-in-lieu-of-notice-of-termination.

The penalty was imposed in response to the company failing to comply with three Compliance Notices issued by the Fair Work Ombudsman, which required the backpayment of entitlements to 38 workers it employed before the centre closed in 2020.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said business operators that fail to act on Compliance Notices need to be aware they can face court-imposed penalties on top of having to back-pay workers.

“When Compliance Notices are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive their lawful entitlements,” Parker said.

The regulator began an investigation after receiving requests for assistance from workers who were employed at the centre when it closed.

A Fair Work Inspector issued Compliance Notices to Kids Academy Hope Island in February and March 2021 after having determined that the workers had not been paid all entitlements owed under the National Employment Standards.