A business owner who confessed to being “too busy and lazy” to keep adequate financial records has been hit with penalties worth more than $43,000.
Ming Yuan Hu, who runs a number of massage parlours in Adelaide, came to the attention of the Fair Work Ombudsman following a series of audits of massage parlours in Adelaide and Hobart in 2016.
Mr Hu, whose companies Wuyu and 9th Sky operate the various outlets, told inspectors that he had not kept financial records or issued payslips to his workers because “I am too busy and lazy”.
It ultimately proved to be a case of three strikes and you’re out for Mr Hu, who had previously been put on notice in 2012 and 2014 for failing to keep these records.
“Proper record-keeping and the provision of payslips is essential to ensure there is compliance with workplace laws,” deputy FWO president Michael Ardlie said.
“The failure to maintain relevant records frustrated the investigation process. Further, it is not known whether employees of the respondent suffered any specific monetary loss or entitlements in the absence of relevant records.”
Mr Hu was fined $7,200 personally, while each of his companies received a penalty of $18,000 – equating to a total bill of $43,200.
Ombudsman Natalie James said employers should be aware that new provisions to protect vulnerable workers have now come into effect under amendments to the Fair Work Act.
“Now, employers who don’t meet record-keeping or payslip obligations and can’t give a reasonable excuse will need to disprove allegations in wage claims made in a court,” said Ms James.
“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 payslip, the employer may need to prove that they did pay the employee correctly or gave them the right entitlements.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.