Lycamobile has been penalised for the second time in as many weeks, this time for underpaying one of its staff thousands of dollars in overtime entitlements.
The Australian arm of the global SIM card provider was fined $25,000 in the Federal Circuit Court following an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman, which found that Lycamobile had underpaid an administrative employee $5264 in overtime entitlements.
The NSW employee received a base salary between $33,867 and $37,742 per year for 40 hours of work per week, in addition to overtime hours, according to the ombudsman.
It is alleged that the employee worked over 600 overtime hours and was entitled to approximately $16,736, but was only paid $11,472.
“Under Australia’s workplace laws, employers are legally obliged to pay employees their full minimum entitlements. The Fair Work Ombudsman is prepared to take enforcement action if a business disregards that obligation,” Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said.
“It is unacceptable for an employer to continue to underpay employee entitlements after being formally sanctioned by the court. This penalty sends a clear message that repeat breaches of workplace laws will be met with a serious response."
This is the second time that Lycamobile has been nabbed for underpaying staff. In 2013, the company was fined $59,400 for exploiting migrant workers in Adelaide and another $28,034 fine for staff in Brisbane.
Judge Sylvia Emmett labelled Lycamobile's conduct as "egregious" for failing to ensure it complied with its obligations after the 2013 fines, saying it was a result of “recklessness rather than mere accident.”
“I accept that a meaningful penalty is one that sends a message to employers and the public at large that repeat offending is serious and should be treated as such by the court,” Emmett said.
Not only is this the second time Lycamobile has been caught underpaying staff, but the telco has landed in hot water with other industry regulators multiple times in the past.
Just last week, Lycamobile was fined $12,600 for failing to comply with the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (TCP) by not lodging its annual documents to confirm its compliance.
In 2014, Lycamobile was warned by the Australian Communications and Media Authority for overcharging 12,000 customers. ACMA stepped in again in 2016 accusing Lycamobile of breaching its complaints-handling obligations.