A Sydney businessman and his wife allegedly had their Filipino nanny work for just over $2 an hour for up to 106 hours a week, giving her only two days off in an entire year.
Now the Fair Work Ombudsman is pursuing the couple for more than $155,000 in unpaid wages under Australia’s workplace laws.
In a statement of claim lodged in the federal court on Tuesday, the Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Kit Antony (Tony) Lam underpaid the 26-year-old nanny, failed to pay her penalty rates and required her to work between 88 and 106 hours every week from May 2016 to May 2017.
The ombudsman claims Lam’s wife, Ming Wei (Tiffanie) Tong, was also involved.
The nanny was allegedly hired from the Philippines by agents for Lam and lived with him and his wife and their two children in the Sydney CBD.
The statement of claim says her duties included cooking, cleaning, laundry, ironing, gardening as well as bathing, dressing, feeding and caring for two children.
She was allegedly expected to work from 6am to 11pm on weekdays and 7am to 11pm on weekends and was given only two days off in a year – one in October and one in April.
For all of this she was paid 40,000 Philippine pesos a month, which over 12 months amounted to $12,574, the ombudsman claims.
When averaged across the nanny’s alleged hours this equates to her being paid just $2.33 an hour.
The ombudsman says the woman was entitled to at least between $17.29 and $18.91 an hour and up to $37.82 for overtime.
“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,” the Fair Work Ombudsman, Sandra Parker, said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The scale of the alleged underpayments and the unreasonable work hours are concerning.”
The ombudsman is seeking orders for Lam to make back-payments to the nanny plus interest and for penalties to be imposed.
AAP attempted to contact Lam for comment.