Carnarvon cleaning company accused of underpaying workers by Fair Work Ombudsman

Staff ReportersMidwest Times
Women at workplace, professional female cleaner washing floor in office.
Camera IconWomen at workplace, professional female cleaner washing floor in office. Credit: diego_cervo/Getty Images/iStockphoto

A Carnarvon cleaning company is facing fines of up to $75,600 after it allegedly underpaid employees more than $100,000 and falsified records.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has started proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court against Carnarvon Cleaners Pty Ltd and its sole shareholder and director Margaret Herlysha Seaton, with the company holding cleaning contracts with corporate and government clients in the area.

The regulator alleges Carnarvon Cleaners underpaid 35 employees $119,318 under theCleaning Services Award 2010 between November 2017 and November 2018.

Individual alleged underpayments range from $69 to $16,303 and included minimum-engagement pay, casual loadings, weekend and public holiday penalty rates and overtime rates.

All employees have been back-paid in full.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker also claims Carnarvon Cleaners breached record keeping laws, including by knowingly making and keeping false or misleading records and providing them to Fair Work inspectors.

It is further alleged that the underpayments occurred despite the FWO having made Carnarvon Cleaners and Ms Seaton aware of their lawful obligations under the Cleaning Services Award 2010 during previous audits between 2010 and 2014.

The alleged breaches were discovered when the FWO investigated Carnarvon Cleaners as part of a national auditing campaign in 2018.

Carnarvon Cleaners faces potential penalties of up to $63,000 per contravention and Ms Seaton faces potential penalties of up to $12,600 per contravention.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Perth for May 11.

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