Cleaning business operator penalised

3 November 2021

The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a $5,328 penalty in court against the operator of a cleaning business based in the Newcastle suburb of Merewether.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court has imposed the penalty against Mr Michael James Henshaw, a sole trader operating Spit and Polish Professional Cleaning.

The penalty was imposed in response Mr Henshaw breaching the Fair Work Act by failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring him to calculate entitlements to an employee and back-pay any underpayment.

The Court also ordered that Mr Henshaw back-pay the remaining outstanding underpayment amount of $766.59, plus interest. Mr Henshaw back-paid $250 after proceedings commenced.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said business operators that fail to act on Compliance Notices need to be aware they can face court-imposed penalties on top of having to back-pay workers.

“When Compliance Notices are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive their lawful entitlements,” Ms Parker said.

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance.”

The Fair Work Ombudsman investigated after receiving a request for assistance from a former part-time cleaner who worked for the business between January and October 2019.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Mr Henshaw in January 2021 after forming a belief that the cleaner had not been fully paid wages and annual leave entitlements, including leave loading, they were owed under the Cleaning Services Award 2010 when their employment terminated.

Employers and employees can visit or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for free advice and assistance about their rights and obligations in the workplace. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50. Small businesses can find targeted resources at the Small Business Showcase.

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Ryan Pedler, Assistant Director - Media
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