Twenty-five cleaners at Melbourne’s Docklands Stadium in Melbourne have been underpaid by up to nearly $100,000 with some being paid flat rates of as little as $7 per hour, Australia’s workplace regulator enforcement agency says.
In a statement, the Fair Work Ombudsman said it had commenced action in the Federal Court against national cleaning company Quayclean Australia Pty Ltd, Melbourne based Ranvel Pty Ltd, Ravel owner-director Indika Udara Lokubalasuriya and former Lionheart Pty Ltd (now in liquidation) director Harjot Singh over underpayment totalling $99,637 over the five-month period between 1 February 2017 and June 30 of that year.
At the time of the alleged underpayments, Quayclean held the principal contract to provide cleaning services to the stadium whilst Ranvel and Lionheart were subcontracted to provide some cleaning services at the stadium.
FWO has alleged that Lionheart and Mr Singh allegedly paid flat hourly rates ranging from just $7 to $23 to eleven cleaners, resulting in overall underpayments of $75,138.26.
Ranvel and Mr Lokubalasuriya allegedly paid 14 cleaners a flat rate of $16 per hour, resulting in total underpayments of $24,498.80.
The underpayments were discovered following late-night raids by Fair Work inspectors after a 2017 AFL match, which in turn sprung from complaints received through the regulator’s online reporting tool.
The affected employees were allegedly underpaid entitlements under the Cleaning Services Award 2010, such as minimum ordinary hourly rates, casual loadings and penalty rates.
Whilst the alleged underpayments owed to all impacted employees have now been fully repaid, Quayclean and Ranvel each face penalties of up to $63,000 per contravention whilst former and current directors Lokubalasuriya and Singh face penalties of up to $12,600 in relation to each breach.
A directions hearing is listed for 18 February 2020 in the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne.