Sydney-based software companies POSnet and ECNEsoft have been ordered to back pay two workers a total of $34,429 following a court enforceable undertaking.
POSnet and ECNEsoft provide point of sale software and equipment for restaurants and retail providers and share the same director, Bum Soo Lee.
The decision came after two overseas workers requested assistance from the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).
Following investigations, FWO found that the companies paid "unlawfully low flat rates" of between $6 and $24 to the two workers for the period they were employed from July 2016 to October 2017.
Among the contraventions, FWO found that POSnet breached the National Minimum Wage Order and its annual leave pay obligations and also failed to provide pay in lieu of notice of termination.
On top of that, POSnet "unlawfully engaged its underpaid worker as an intern" for the first five months of his employment, and paid the worker flat hourly rates of between $6 and $11 during the period.
The FWO found that the POSnet worker, who was on a 417 working holiday visa and was recruited while in Korea, was underpaid by $13,356.
Meanwhile, ECNEsoft’s workplace breaches included underpaying its worker the minimum rates for ordinary hours, overtime and public holiday hours, and failing to pay annual leave loading, owed under the Clerks Private Sector Award.
ECNEsoft's worker, who was in Australia on a 485 temporary graduate visa, was underpaid by $21,072.
The two companies will have to get an independent professional to complete audits of the pay and conditions of all employees, one in 2019 and the second in 2020.
The companies' director is required to check the pay and conditions of all workers in the nine other companies he directs. Any underpayments must be rectified and reported to the FWO.
“We have no tolerance for employers who think they can pay unlawfully low flat rates of pay to migrant workers," Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said." A court-enforceable undertaking means that a company will not only have to pay back the money that is owed to their employees, but will also face ongoing close scrutiny by the FWO.
“Australia’s lawful rates of pay do not change because of visa status and any workers with concerns should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman,” Parker said. The two companies will also make a combined contrition payment of $5,000 to the Commonwealth Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund.
POSnet and ECNEsoft have been contacted for comment.