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Sydney Couple Penalised $37,500 For Underpaying Nanny

Sydney couple penalised $37,500 for underpaying nanny

A Sydney couple has been penalised $37,500 for underpaying their nanny $93,235.

The Federal Court described the wage theft as “deliberate” because the couple chose to pay the worker in Philippine pesos instead of lawful local rates.

The underpayments

Kit Antony (Tony) Lam and his former wife Ming Wei (Tiffanie) Tong employed the 26 year-old as a domestic worker and nanny.

She lived with the then couple and their young children in a CBD apartment.

It was her first job since moving from the Philippines.

Lam and Wong admitted making the woman work up to 82-hours per week between May 2016 and May 2017.

In return, Lam paid the worker 40,000 Philippine pesos per month into her Philippines-based bank account.

Across the 12-months, this worked out to be the equivalent of $12,574 Australian dollars.

Lam and Wong agreed the nanny was entitled to $105,809 Australian dollars for hours worked.

Lam also admitted the amounts paid to the employee resulted in underpayments of base rates and penalty rates, including:

  • early morning and night hours;
  • overtime hours; and
  • public holidays.

The parties agreed that the employee had been unreasonably required to work more than 38-hours per week.

Lam and Wong also did not allow annual leave, and failed to keep accurate records and provide pay slips.

The couple rectified the wage theft last year, three years after the employee ceased work.


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Sydney couple penalised for underpaying nanny

As a result of the underpayments, the court penalised Lam $32,500 and Tong an additional $5,000.

Justice Nye Perram described the contraventions as “quite serious”.

“Mr Lam’s conduct was deliberate in the sense he decided to hire a domestic worker and nanny from overseas and to pay her outside the Australian regulatory framework.”


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