Massive fines sought through FWO prosecution

Monday, Jun 10, 2019

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced its first legal action under the serious contravention provisions of the Protecting Vulnerable Workers laws.

The maximum penalties that apply for serious contraventions are $630,000 per breach for a company and $126,000 for an individual, 10 times the penalties which would ordinarily apply.

The employer faces five alleged serious contraventions. These relate to minimum wages, failing to issue pay slips, failing to keep records, failing to pay employees in full and making an unlawful deduction.

Affected employees were temporary visa holders and most were aged in their 20s.

The FWO had received complaints from the employer’s employees over several years and had previously issued a letter of caution, education materials, pay guides and notices to produce documents to the employer.

The FWO will also be relying on their new reverse onus of proof provisions that require employers to disprove underpayment allegations in court if they have failed to adequately comply with time-and-wages records and pay slip obligations.

If you have any questions on the protecting vulnerable workers laws or would like some more assistance with minimum compliance obligations, contact Henrik Wallgren on 8222 9270 or henrik@winesa.asn.au or Adrian Richards on 8222 9212 or adrian@winesa.asn.au.