Landscaper fined for payment failures

A landscaper’s tangle with the Fair Work Ombudsman is serving as a warning to contractors that even as they’re doing it tough with tight profit margins, there’s no excuse for withholding employee pay.

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A Sydney landscaping company, Precise Fencing and Landscaping, has been served a $15,000 penalty, while the company’s sole director, Kurt Dean, must pay $3,000 for failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring the calculation and back-payment entitlements to a landscape gardener.

The employee in question worked for the company on a full-time basis between July 2021 and March 2022. Following a request for assistance from the worker after their employment had ended, the Fair Work Ombudsman took up the investigation.

A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice to Precise Fencing and Landscaping in May 2022 after forming a belief the worker was not paid accrued but untaken annual leave entitlements owed at the end of his employment under the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.

The compliance notice was not obeyed, resulting in the penalties, which were issued by The Federal Circuit and Family Court.


In addition to the penalties, the court has ordered Precise Fencing and Landscaping to back-pay the worker in full, plus interest.

Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth said the judgment showed that business operators who fail to pay workers what they are owed, and do not respond to Fair Work orders, will face consequences.

“When Compliance Notices are not followed, we will continue to take legal action. Employers who fail to act on these notices risk substantial penalties and back-pay orders,” Ms Booth said.

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance,” she added.

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