The Federal Circuit Court has imposed a penalty of $28,350 against UHY Sothertons Sydney Pty Ltd, a company that operated an accounting firm in Bondi Junction until it sold the business to another company in April 2019.
The court imposed the penalty after finding the company had failed to comply with a compliance notice issued by the Fair Work Ombudsman requiring it to calculate and backpay entitlements owed to four employees.
UHY Sothertons Sydney had employed four employees, all of whom had their employment terminated when the business was sold.
Under the terms of the sale agreement, UHY Sothertons Sydney was responsible for paying out the employees’ final entitlements.
Fair Work investigators were roped in after the employees lodged requests for assistance, leading an inspector to find that they had not been paid their accrued but untaken annual leave entitlements under the National Employment Standards.
In addition to the penalty, the court has also ordered UHY Sothertons Sydney to comply with the compliance notice, which includes rectifying underpayments in full, plus superannuation and interest.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said her agency was prepared to take legal action against businesses that failed to act on compliance notices.
“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,” Ms Parker said.
“We make every effort to secure voluntary compliance with compliance notices, but where they are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive their lawful entitlements.
“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance.”
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.