Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

Fair Work Compliance Actions

$121,000 Fine for Underpayment

“Noting that the Fair Work Ombudsman had previously advised Mr Pulis that labourer rates must be paid if an apprenticeship arrangement is not registered, Judge Riethmuller found that the underpayment of the employee was deliberate.”

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the conduct could only be described as deliberate.

“It is simply unacceptable to exploit any worker in such a way and the conduct is even more abhorrent when you consider the response the worker received for doing nothing more than asking for what he was lawfully entitled to,” Ms James said.

Read the Fair Work Ombudsman media release in full

Employer Did Not Keep Records

In an email to a Fair Work inspector, Hu stated that “During the past few years, I did not do the records and other things properly, because I am too busy and lazy”.

Ms James says employers should be aware that the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017 has now come into effect, which means a reverse onus of proof can now apply when the Fair Work Ombudsman pursues legal action in relation to underpayments that have occurred since the commencement of the Act.

“We welcome these changes,” Ms James said.

“Now, employers who don't meet record-keeping or pay slip obligations and can't give a reasonable excuse will need to disprove allegations in wage claims made in a court,” Ms James said.

“If an employee claims they have been underpaid and the employer didn't keep the right records, make those records available, or give them a pay slip, the employer may need to prove that they did pay the employee correctly or gave them the right entitlements.”

But note, once again: “The contraventions occurred despite the Fair Work Ombudsman having previously put Hu on notice, during investigations in 2012 and 2014, of the need to comply with record-keeping and pay slip obligations under the Fair Work Act.”

Read the Fair Work Ombudsman media release in full


  • 23rd February, 2018