Wheat farm operator in court
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against a company that operates a wheat farm in the far north of New South Wales.
Facing court is Printpot Pty Ltd, which operates a farm on Carinda Road, in Carinda.
The regulator investigated after receiving a request for assistance from a worker the company employed as a full-time farmhand between July 2018 and February 2020.
A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Printpot in July 2021 after forming a belief the worker was underpaid minimum wages and annual leave entitlements, owed under the Pastoral Award 2010 and the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.
The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Printpot, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the Compliance Notice, which required it 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.”
“Improving compliance in the agriculture sector is also a priority for the agency. 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 a penalty in court. Printpot faces a penalty of up to $33,300 for the alleged failure to comply with the Compliance Notice.
The regulator is also seeking an order for Printpot to take the steps set out in the Compliance Notice, which includes rectifying the alleged underpayment amount in full, plus interest and superannuation.
A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Sydney on 14 April 2023.
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.