Two Brisbane massage parlours have been hit with more than $100,000 in penalties for failing to back-pay two massage therapists thousands of dollars.
The operator of the Brisbane City Thai Massage and Day Spa and Heavenly Asian Massage parlours in Brisbane's CBD was penalised $97,000 in the Federal Circuit Court this week.
The penalty comes after the company, Bishnu Laxmi Ganesha Trading Pty Ltd, admitted to failing to comply with a Fair Work Ombudsman notice requiring it to back-pay two massage therapists a total of $12,842.
Former company owners Sean Pinnell and Sajana Paudel were also penalised $4625 and $10,600, respectively.
Business manager Binaya Sapkota was penalised $8000 for contravening record-keeping and pay slip laws and failing to provide the employees with a Fair Work Information statement at the start of their employment.
Both employees were Japanese women aged in their mid-20s, in Australia on 417 working holiday visas.
The women, who had been underpaid over a three-month period in 2016, were paid on a per-massage basis but were entitled to the minimum hourly rates and entitlements under the Hair and Beauty Industry award.
It was understood they were paid 39 per cent and 41 per cent of what they were entitled to.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the employer’s refusal to resolve the matter outside the courts was a “very poor decision”.
“Any employer that thinks they can exploit vulnerable employees with impunity should think again,” she said.
“We know overseas workers can be particularly vulnerable in the workplace and we take very seriously any allegations relating to the exploitation of overseas workers.”