Former Gold Coast childcare centre in court
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action in court against the former operator of a Gold Coast-based childcare centre.
Facing court is Kids Academy Hope Island Pty Ltd, which operated the Kids Academy Hope Island childcare centre, before the centre closed in 2020.
The regulator began an investigation after receiving requests for assistance from workers who were employed at the centre when it closed.
A Fair Work Inspector issued Compliance Notices to Kids Academy Hope Island in February and March 2021 after forming a belief 37 workers had not been paid redundancy entitlements owed under the National Employment Standards.
It is alleged that one of the employees, then aged 49, was also not paid an additional week of pay-in-lieu-of-notice-of-termination she was entitled to as an employee aged over 45 with five years of service.
The FWO alleges Kids Academy Hope Island, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notices, which required the company to calculate and back-pay the workers’ outstanding 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.
The FWO is seeking penalties against Kids Academy Hope Island Pty Ltd for failing to comply with three Compliance Notices. The company faces a maximum penalty of up to $33,300 for each alleged Compliance Notice contravention.
The regulator is also seeking an order for the company to comply with the Compliance Notices, which includes rectifying any underpayments in full, plus interest and superannuation.
A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Brisbane on 5 October 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.
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Ryan Pedler, Assistant Director - Media
Mobile: 0411 430 902