Disability Services Business Operator Back In Court

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action for a second time against the operator of a disability support services business operating in southern New South Wales.

Facing court is sole trader Kristy Leanne Tate who operates Kreating Real Change Disability Services in Crookwell.

The regulator investigated after receiving requests for assistance from two workers, a married couple, Ms Tate employed at her business in full-time home care positions for various periods between June 2020 and September 2022.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Ms Tate in December 2022 after forming a belief the workers were underpaid entitlements owed under the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010, and the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.

The inspector formed a belief that both workers were underpaid minimum wages, overtime, annual leave entitlements and public holiday penalty rates, that one of the workers was also underpaid for afternoon shift loading and that the other worker was also underpaid for night shift loading and sleepover allowances.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Ms Tate, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required her to calculate and back-pay the workers’ entitlements. It is alleged that the amount the employer was required to pay under the Compliance Notice was $13,878.

Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take businesses to court where lawful requests are not complied with.

“Where employers do not comply, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can order a business to pay penalties and make payments to workers,” Ms Booth said.

“Employers also need to be aware that taking action to improve compliance in the care sector is among our top priorities. Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance.”

The FWO is seeking a penalty in court for the alleged failure to comply with the Compliance Notice. Ms Tate faces a penalty of up to $8,250.

The regulator is also seeking an order for Ms Tate to pay the alleged amount owing to the employees, plus superannuation and interest.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Sydney on 6 August 2024.

The matter follows a separate legal action by the Fair Work Ombudsman, which resulted in the Federal Circuit and Family Court imposing a $4,290 penalty against Ms Tate for failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring back-payments to two young workers.

/Public Release. View in full here.