The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action in the Federal Circuit Court against UHY Sothertons Sydney Pty Ltd for allegedly failing to pay staff their accrued annual leave entitlements.
UHY Sothertons Sydney operated an accounting firm in Bondi Junction until it sold the business to another company in April 2019, with all four employees having their employment terminated when the business was sold.
It is alleged that under the terms of the sale agreement, UHY Sothertons Sydney was responsible for paying out the employees’ final entitlements.
Fair Work was brought in to investigate and subsequently issued a compliance notice after forming a belief that the employees had not been paid their accrued but untaken annual leave entitlements under the National Employment Standards.
The regulator alleges the company failed to comply with the compliance notice which required it to calculate and back-pay entitlements owing to the four employees.
UHY Sothertons Sydney Pty Ltd faces a penalty of up to $31,500 from the court.
The FWO is also seeking a court order requiring 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 that the regulator would continue to take businesses to court where lawful requests are not complied with.
“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.
“Where employers do not comply with a compliance notice, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can then order them to pay penalties in addition to back-paying workers. Any employees with concerns about their pay should contact us for assistance.”
A directions hearing has been listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney on 16 July.
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.