417 visa-holders allegedly short-changed thousands

2 November 2015 

A packing services company in Melbourne is facing Court for allegedly underpaying three employees, including two 417 working holiday visa-holders.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action in the Federal Circuit Court against ACC Services (Aust) Pty Ltd, which trades as Rapid Pak.

Also facing Court is company director and part-owner Ingrid Hsi, of Glen Iris.

Three packers employed by the company were allegedly underpaid a total of $23,479.

The employees were allegedly paid flat hourly rates or according to the number of items they packed.  

This allegedly led to underpayment of normal hourly rates and penalty rates for weekend, public holiday and overtime work. Annual leave entitlements were allegedly also underpaid.

Two of the employees - 417 visa-holders from China and Taiwan aged in their early 30s – were allegedly underpaid amounts of $3776 and $4911 over a period of just three months in 2014.

The majority of the alleged underpayment relates to the third employee, a Chinese migrant in her 50s who was allegedly short-changed $14,792 between 2011 and 2014.

Fair Work inspectors investigated after the employees, who spoke limited English, lodged requests for assistance. The alleged underpayments have now been rectified in full.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says that while it is pleasing the outstanding wages and entitlements have been reimbursed, legal action has been initiated because it is not the first time the agency has received complaints from migrant workers about ACC Services – and the company has previously been put on notice about its need to comply with workplace laws.

The previous matters resulted in ACC Services back-paying employees more than $60,000.

ACC Services faces maximum penalties of $51,000 per contravention, while Ms Hsi faces maximum penalties of $10,200 per contravention.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has also taken the rare step of seeking an injunction restraining ACC Services and Ms Hsi from underpaying employees in future. If the Fair Work Ombudsman is successful with the injunction, ACC Services and Ms Hsi could potentially face contempt of court proceedings for any further underpayments proven in Court.

Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

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Media inquiries:

Ryan Pedler, Assistant Media Director
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