The Fair Work Ombudsman has recovered more than $8000 in back-pay for a couple who came to Australia to manage a Goldfields retail outlet.
The husband and wife moved to Western Australia last year to jointly manage the seven-day-a-week business.
Fair Work Ombudsman WA director Leigh Quealy said the owner placed a strict limit on his wages bill.
The couple claimed this left them short-staffed and required them to each work more than 80 hours some weeks.
Quealy says each was paid a flat rate of $835 per week, regardless of the number of hours they worked.
“Our inspectors were quick to investigate this matter when the couple lodged a complaint and we have secured $6000 in back-pay for the woman and $2100 for her husband,” he said.
Quealy said the couple no longer worked at the business.
“Unfortunately, migrants with limited or no English skills – and little understanding of Australia’s workplace laws – are vulnerable,” he said.
“Migrant workers have basic rights and protections the same as any other worker.
Quealy said the courts had made it clear that exploitation of vulnerable workers, including the young and those from non-English speaking backgrounds, would not be tolerated.
In Adelaide earlier this year the Fair Work Ombudsman achieved a penalty of $288,000 against a cleaning company and its sole director for underpaying two vulnerable workers – an 18-year-old female and an adult male who had only recently arrived from Iraq.