‘Glad Group holds cleaning contracts for more than 125 office buildings around the country, but all of the underpaid employees worked as cleaners at 126 Phillip Street, Sydney.
‘The employees included international students, working holiday visa workers and recent immigrants and many of them spoke little English. Six were aged under 21 at the time.
‘Federal Magistrate Emmett found that Glad Group had displayed a disregard for its obligations under workplace laws, resulting in employees suffering significant loss. The underpaid cleaners generally worked four-hour shifts at night.
‘The majority of the underpayments were the result of Glad Group purporting to outsource employment of the cleaners for the fourth hour of their shifts to another company – LJ & LJ King – that paid them only $13 to $15 an hour, when they were entitled to more than $17 an hour.
However, according to the FWO, because Glad Group continued to control and direct the employees for their whole shift, it was deemed the true employer and was responsible for paying the cleaners for all work performed.
‘Glad Group was therefore ultimately responsible for underpaying the employees the minimum hourly rate, as well as overtime rates and toilet-cleaning allowances. Glad Group also failed to keep proper employment records.
One employee – a recent immigrant from Asia who was aged 23 at the time – was underpaid more than $20,000, stated the release.
‘Fair Work inspectors discovered the underpayments in 2009 when they audited Glad Group during a campaign focussing on Sydney cleaning companies.
Glad Group has since rectified the underpayments of all employees it has been able to locate, apart from a small number that cannot be found.