Health industry labour-hire company in court

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against a Melbourne-based labour-hire company operating in the health industry.

Facing court are Oz ESDM Pty Ltd, which is based in Kew, and the company’s sole director, Ziran Guo.

The regulator investigated after receiving a request for assistance from a young worker who was employed by Oz ESDM as a child therapist from January to August, 2022. The worker was aged 22 at the time.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Oz ESDM in April 2023 after forming a belief the worker had been underpaid minimum wages, owed under the Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2020 and was not paid her accrued but untaken annual leave entitlements at the end of her employment, owed under the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Oz ESDM, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required it to calculate and back-pay the worker’s entitlements. It is alleged the worker is owed at least $5,815.

A breach of pay slip laws is also alleged.

It is alleged Mr Guo was involved in the contraventions.

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 in addition to back-paying workers,” Ms Booth said.

“Employers also need to be aware that taking action to protect young workers, who may be vulnerable, is a priority for the Fair Work Ombudsman. Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance.”

The FWO is seeking penalties in court. For the alleged failure to comply with the Compliance Notice, Oz ESDM Pty Ltd faces a penalty of up to $41,250 and Mr Guo faces a penalty of up to $8,250.

In addition, for the alleged pay slips breach, Oz ESDM Pty Ltd faces a penalty of up to $66,600 and Mr Guo faces a penalty of up to $13,320.

The regulator is also seeking orders for the company to rectify the alleged underpayment in full, plus interest and superannuation. A hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Melbourne on 12 April 2024.

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