A scenic and commercial helicopter company has been penalised more than $40,000 for underpaying two pilots, and failing to provide pay slips.
Broome Helicopter Services was ordered to pay $33,550, while the company’s director and chief pilot Jospeh Calandra was penalised $6,710.
The two pilots were underpaid $10,500 over a six-month period in 2012 when Broome Helicopter Services failed to pay them their minimum hourly rate, annual leave and other entitlements that were outlined in the Air Pilots Award.
The company also failed to provide the pilots pay slips within one day of being paid, made misleading payslips that understated hours worked, and failed to make annual leave records and provide a roster seven days in advance as required.
The Fair Work Ombudsman commenced an investigation after the two pilots made formal complaints.
Judge Antoni Lucev said the underpayments were “in large part the fault of… Mr Calandra’s failure to properly implement and monitor proper payroll systems and records”.
The underpayments plus interest were rectified after Judge Lucev’s earlier liability judgment.
No excuse for wage theft
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from Fair Work Claims said there was no excuse for wage theft.
“We never stop hearing the same excuse from employers that modern awards are complex and hard to understand, well we say that’s bullshit,” he said.
“If someone can run a company as complex as a helicopter charter service and comply with all sorts of aviation and safety regulations, then they should know how to pay their staff properly.
“And there is certainly no excuse for not providing pay slips or fudging records to disguise wage theft.”
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Fair Work Claims is a private consultancy and advocacy firm with no affiliation to any government agency, commission or tribunal.