Sydney roofing business in court

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the operator of a roofing business in Sydney.

Facing court is sole trader Winiata Tipene, who operates ‘The brothers metal roofing’.

The regulator began an investigation after receiving requests for assistance from two workers who had been employed by Mr Tipene as a full-time roof plumber and casual labourer between March and August 2021.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Mr Tipene in October 2021 after forming a belief that the workers had not been paid all entitlements owed under the Plumbing and Fire Sprinklers Award 2020 and the National Employment Standards.

The inspector formed a belief that the roof plumber, aged 20 to 21 at the time, was underpaid minimum wages, a range of allowances and annual leave entitlements, and that the labourer was underpaid minimum wages, casual loadings, allowances and Saturday penalty rates.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Mr Tipene, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required him to calculate and back-pay the workers’ entitlements.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take business operators to court when they fail to act on Compliance Notices.

“Where employers do not comply, we are prepared to take appropriate legal action to ensure employees receive their lawful entitlements. A court can order a business to pay penalties on top of having to back-pay workers,” Ms Parker said.

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

The FWO is seeking a penalty against Mr Tipene for allegedly failing to comply with the Compliance Notice. He faces a penalty of up to $6,660.

The regulator is also seeking orders that Mr Tipene rectify the alleged underpayments in full, plus calculate and pay superannuation and interest.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Sydney on 27 May 2022.

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