Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission

$19,000 unpaid wages awarded in employer's absence

The Commission upheld a claim for contractual entitlements by a bricklayer and awarded more than $19,000 for unpaid wages, annual leave and one month's pay in lieu of notice. 

The claim was heard and determined in the employer's absence because the Commission was satisfied that he was given appropriate notice of the hearing by post and email but did not attend the hearing or contact the Commission about the matter.  The employer also failed to comply with a direction to file an answer to the claim and did not attend a conciliation conference or directions hearing. 

Part of the applicant's claim was for a 'TAFE NSW donation'.  The employer had to pay TAFE NSW $2,652.20 because the employer's apprentice left employment after only one year.  The employer could not afford to pay that amount, so he asked the applicant to pay it and promised to pay him back.  Commissioner Emmanuel rejected this aspect of the claim because she was not satisfied that it was an 'industrial matter', noting that 'where the matter in issue is essentially a claim for indebtedness which lacks any ingredient of industrial relations, then it cannot be characterised as an industrial matter' and must be dealt with by a different court or tribunal. 

The decision can be read here

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