Gold Coast telecommunications company in court

28 June 2022

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against a Gold Coast-based telecommunications company that supplies services to schools and businesses in south-east Queensland.

Facing court are Polyfone Telecom Pty Ltd and its sole director Paul Desmond Wallace.

The regulator began an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from a worker who had been employed by Polyfone Telecom as a full-time bookkeeper between December 2014 and September 2020.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Polyfone Telecom in February 2021 after forming a belief that the worker had not been paid all entitlements owed under the Telecommunications Services Award 2020 and the National Employment Standards.

The inspector formed a belief that the worker was owed more than 600 hours of accrued but untaken annual leave entitlements on termination, as well as personal leave and superannuation entitlements.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Polyfone Telecom, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required it to pay the worker’s entitlements in full. It is alleged Mr Wallace was involved in the contravention.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take business operators to court when they fail to act on Compliance Notices.

“Where employers do not comply, we are prepared to take appropriate legal action to ensure employees receive their lawful entitlements. A court can order a business to pay penalties on top of having to back-pay workers,” Ms Parker said.

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free advice and assistance.”

The Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking penalties for the alleged failure to comply with the Compliance Notice. Polyfone Telecom faces a penalty of up to $33,300 and Mr Wallace faces a penalty of up to $6,660.

FWO is also seeking an order for Polyfone Telecom to comply with the Compliance Notice by rectifying the alleged underpayment in full, including interest and superannuation. It is alleged that Polyfone Telecom has partially back-paid the worker but that $28,120.80 remains owing.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Brisbane on 15 August 2022.

Employers and employees can visit or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for free advice and assistance. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

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Ryan Pedler, Assistant Director - Media
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