Jetstar fined over breaches of workplace laws
6 February 2014
Two Jetstar companies have today been fined a total of $90,000 for unlawfully making six cadet pilots responsible for training costs and making deductions from their wages, despite receiving advice the deductions contravened workplace laws.
Jetstar Group Pty Ltd and Jetstar Airways Pty Ltd have each been fined
$45,000 in the Federal Court in Sydney after admitting they breached the Fair
The penalties are the result of legal action by the Fair Work
The six pilots were recruited between October, 2010 and January, 2011 and
were employed on New Zealand individual contracts through a New Zealand-based
Jetstar subsidiary while they underwent six months of training.
At the conclusion of the training, the cadet pilots’ employment was
transferred to Australian entity Jetstar Group.
Justice Robert Buchanan found that Jetstar continued to pursue plans to
recover training costs from the cadet pilots despite advice that this was
unlawful under Australia’s Air Pilots Award 2010.
Jetstar deducted a total of $17,500 from the cadet pilots’ wages between June
and September 2011 before the practice was ceased and the money was returned to
them in November 2011, following a legal challenge by the Australian Federation
of Air Pilots (AFAP).
Deductions were made from all six pilots’ wages, including one pilot who had
refused to agree to the deductions.
Justice Buchanan said that there was a lack of evidence of contrition or
remorse from Jetstar.
"The respondents used their vastly superior bargaining power to effectively
brush aside any personal resistance by cadet pilots, not desisting until the
AFAP stepped in," Justice Buchanan said.
"The conduct of Jetstar Group and Jetstar Airways was calculated solely by
reference to their assessment of their own commercial interests and their
determination that the cadet pilots should be ultimately responsible for the
cost of their training.
Justice Buchanan said the companies "undertook their contravening conduct
notwithstanding advice (the substance of which is now accepted) that what they
were proposing to do, and did do, was contrary to the Award and the Fair Work
Imposing penalties at 68 per cent of the available maximum, Justice Buchanan
said, "I think it is appropriate to mark the Court’s disapproval of what was
"A penalty should be fixed, if possible, with a view to ensuring that the
risk of punishment is not seen as an acceptable cost of doing business."
The Fair Work Ombudsman's separate legal proceedings against Jetstar Airways
Pty Ltd, as well as Singapore company Valuair Limited and Thai company Tour East
(T.E.T.) Limited are ongoing.
In these proceedings the Fair Work Ombudsman alleges that cabin crew employed
by Valuair and Tour East (T.E.T.) to work on domestic flights for Jetstar were
subject to Australian workplace laws.
These allegations are being contested by Valuair, Tour East (T.E.T.) and
Jetstar Airways. A hearing is scheduled for April 7 in the Federal Court in
Employers and employees seeking assistance should
visit www.fairwork.gov.au or contact the Fair Work
Infoline on 13 13 94. A free interpreter service is available
by calling 13 14 50.
The Fair Work Ombudsman's website contains a range of tools and resources,
including PayCheck Plus and an Award Finder, to assist employers calculate the
correct wages and entitlements for employees.
Other website resources include fact sheets, templates for time-and-wages
sheets and a range of Best Practice Guides.
An "Industries" section on the website provides extra, specialised
information for employers and employees in a range of industries, including
retail, horticulture, road transport, accommodation and hospitality, cleaning,
clerical, vehicle, electrical, fast food, building and construction, hair and
beauty, joinery, metal manufacturing, social and community services, plumbing
Dedicated website resources for small businesses,
including a Fair Work Handbook and tips for new employers about hiring staff,
are available at www.fairwork.gov.au/smallbusiness
Follow the Fair Work Ombudsman on Twitter
or find us on
Ryan Pedler, Assistant Media Director
0411 430 902
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