A Victorian childcare centre has been fined $85,000, while others have been named and shamed as investigations seek to clean up dodgy practices, given the sector’s reliance on government assistance.
Vivian Mahomet, who operates three Melbourne childcare centres under the Academy for Kids brand, was handed an $85,000 penalty in court after the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) took action for alleged staff underpayment.
According to FWO, Ms Mahomet underpaid two workers who had previously been long-term unemployed to the tune of $14,341 between September 2013 and December 2015.
She also received a $6,000 grant from the federal government for employing the pair.
However, it is not the first time Ms Mahomet has run afoul of the ombudsman, after being fined almost $20,000 in 2009 for underpaying five other childcare workers by more than $16,000.
“A person who is the subject of a penalty finding in 2014 who continues to contravene in the fashion that the respondent did requires a sharp lesson to make her appreciate more clearly than thus far has apparently been the case what her legal obligations are,” Judge Burchardt said.
“This is all the more the case given that she still operates three childcare centres.”
It comes as the federal Child Care Enforcement Action Register released its list of childcare centres that had their licences suspended or cancelled for non-compliance in the first quarter of the 2017-18 financial year.
Compliance infringements include non-submission of required documentation, record falsification and fee problems – given that government rebates are reliant on correct information being provided.
The bulk of those operators listed are found in Victoria, which recorded 16 cancellations and four suspensions. NSW had 10 cancellations and one suspension, with Western Sydney accounting for virtually all of the cases.
There were also two cancellations in Western Australia and one in Queensland, while there were two suspensions in South Australia and one each in Queensland and the ACT.
There were no actions listed against operators in the Northern Territory or Tasmania for the quarter.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.