Cleaning business faces court over underpayments

An Adelaide cleaning operator allegedly failed to pay a range of entitlements and also issued misleading payslips.

1 June 2022 

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against a cleaning services operator based in Adelaide.

Facing court is Josef Samuel Neubauer, a sole trader who operated a business trading as City Central Cleaning, based in the Adelaide CBD.

The regulator investigated after receiving a request for assistance from a worker employed as a part-time administration assistant at Mr Neubauer’s business between 29 January and 15 February 2021.

The worker, from Brazil, was in Australia on a bridging visa at the time.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a compliance notice to Mr Neubauer in July 2021 after forming a belief that the worker had not been paid entitlements he was owed under the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2020, including minimum wages, annual leave entitlements and payment-in-lieu-of-notice.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Mr Neubauer, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the compliance notice, which required him to calculate and back pay the worker’s outstanding entitlements and wages.

It is also alleged that Mr Neubauer knowingly issued false and misleading pay slips to the worker.

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Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Mark Scully said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take businesses to court where lawful requests were not complied with.

“Where employers do not comply, we will take appropriate action to protect employees,” Mr Scully said. 

“A court can order a business to pay penalties in addition to back-paying workers.

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance."

In relation to the alleged compliance notice breach, Mr Neubauer faces a maximum penalty of up to $6,660. Mr Neubauer also faces a maximum penalty of up to $13,320 for the alleged pay slip contravention.

The Ombudsman is also seeking a court order for Mr Neubauer to take the action required by the compliance notice, including calculating and rectifying any underpayments in full, plus superannuation and interest.

A directions hearing has been listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Adelaide on 28 June 2022.

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