Qld farmer fined for backpacker payment

·1-min read

A Queensland dairy farmer who incorrectly paid a French working holiday visa-holder has been fined.

Toowoomba farm operator Mark Leonard Hess employed the worker on a casual basis between August and November 2019 to milk and feed cows, and do general farm work and house cleaning.

The Fair Work Ombudsman issued Hess - who had been formally cautioned during an investigation in 2018 - with a notice in February last year to calculate and back-pay entitlements to the worker.

The intervention came after the worker contacted the ombudsman.

Hess back-paid $6150.37 in wages and $548.28 superannuation, but only after the Fair Work Ombudsman started legal action.

Federal Circuit Court Judge Michael Jarrett fined Hess $17,500 for failing to comply with the notice requiring him to back-pay the worker and breaching record-keeping and pay slip laws.

Hess's contraventions came about as a result of a "conscious and deliberate decision not to comply" with the Fair Work Act, Judge Jarrett said.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said business operators should be aware they could face court-imposed penalties on top of having to back-pay workers.

"When compliance notices are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers received their lawful entitlements," she said in a statement on Thursday.

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