Construction business operator faces court
18 October 2021
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the operator of a residential building and construction business near Hobart.
Facing court is Vincent Peter Ponsonby, a sole trader who operates a business based at Kingston trading as Ponsonby & Co Building.
The regulator began an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from a worker who was employed full-time by Mr Ponsonby as an adult apprentice carpenter between July 2019 and December 2020.
A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Mr Ponsonby in May 2021 after forming a belief that the worker had been underpaid.
It is alleged the worker was not paid for his unused rostered days off and accrued but untaken annual leave entitlements on termination of employment, as required by the Building and Construction and General On-site Award 2010 and Fair Work Act, respectively.
The FWO alleges Mr Ponsonby, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required him to calculate and back-pay the worker’s entitlements.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take businesses to court where lawful requests are not complied with.
“Where employers do not comply, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can order a business to pay penalties in addition to back-paying workers.”
“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free assistance,” Ms Parker said.
Mr Ponsonby faces a maximum penalty of $6,660 for his alleged failure to comply with a Compliance Notice.
In addition to penalty, the regulator is seeking a court order for Mr Ponsonby to take the action required by the Compliance Notice, which includes calculating and rectifying any underpayment in full, plus superannuation and interest.
A directions hearing has been listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Hobart on 4 November 2021.
Employers and employees can visit www.fairwork.gov.au 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.