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CEO faces court over ‘concerning’ underpayment of nanny

Managing director of Award Mortgage Solutions, Kit Antony (Tony) Lam, and his wife Ming Wei (Tiffanie) Tong are facing prosecution over allegedly requiring a Filipina nanny to work between 88 and 106 hours per week, and underpaying her by $155,178.90.

The nanny was paid 40,000 Philippine pesos per month over a 12-month period, her total pay for that time being equivalent to $12,574 Australian dollars.

Averaged across the alleged hours she worked, this equates to $2.33 per hour.

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) alleges that under the Miscellaneous Award, the nanny should have been paid between $17.29 and $18.91 per hour, and up to $37.82 for overtime hours.

If the Court decides that the nanny was not covered by this award – as there is no award specifically covering nannies and domestic workers – the FWO will allege that she should have received the national minimum wage between $17.29 and $17.70 for every hour she worked, amounting to a total underpayment of $85,834.

Sandra Parker of the FWO says this case will help clarify the coverage of domestic workers and nannies under the Miscellaneous Award.

“We allege the worker in this case was vulnerable to exploitation given she was new to Australia, resided with Mr Lam and his family and did not know what her workplace rights were,” Ms Parker said.

“The scale of the alleged underpayments and the unreasonable work hours are concerning.”

It is alleged that agents for Mr Lam, whose company claims a turnover of more than $1.5 billion per year, recruited the worker directly from the Philippines.

The FWO launched the investigation after receiving a referral from the immigration department, which had received anonymous reports on the worker’s conditions.

The next case management hearing is set for 29 October.

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