FWO takes former roadhouse operator to court

A former operator and part-owner of a regional NSW roadhouse has be charged with allegedly failing to pay an employee her parental leave payments


The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has begun legal proceedings against a former operator and part-owner of a roadhouse in regional New South Wales for allegedly failing to correctly pay a visa-holder.

The case alleges an employee, who was working as a chef at the United Petroleum roadhouse at Marrangaroo, near Lithgow, on a 487 skilled regional sponsored visa, was denied $11,000 in government-funded parental leave payments when she had a child.

Kulpreet Singh, along with Noorpreet Pty Ltd, where Singh is a director, are the subjects to the FWO proceedings.

It is alleged that the Department of Human Services (DHS) transferred $11,538 to Noorpreet in April, 2015 to pass onto the employee following the birth but that did not occur.

The FWO says the employee did not receive the payments; rather "Singh allegedly made a false document purporting to show that he paid the parental leave funds in cash to the employee’s husband in May, 2015."

The ombudsman says it then "challenged the veracity of the document."

After which, the FWO says "Singh and Noorpreet transferred the money to the employee in October last year, more than five months after it was due."

The current legal proceedings mark the first time the FWO has taken action against an employer for allegedly failing to pass on Paid Parental Leave funds to an employee.

With a directions hearing scheduled in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney for June 15, Singh and Noorpreet face fines of up to $10,200 and $51,000 respectively for the alleged breach and also penalties of up to $5,100 and $25,500 per contravention for a number of alleged breaches of the Fair Work Act relating to records and pay-slips.



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