Payroll Award Interpretation mistakes by Sub Contractors and Franchisees create risks for prime businesses engaging them.

Over the past 5 years, several franchisees and subcontractors have been charged with underpaying their employees.

The recent case published on the Fairwork highlights the potential Accessorial Liability for a Venue engaging contractors.

A way to ensure such a penalty is not incurred by the Business engaging the Contractor or the Franchisor may be to facilitate the processing of the Franchisee or Contractor employee’s worked time wages on the Prime Business Inzenius Payroll system.

Inzenius facilitates the ability for contractors to have their own payroll set up for each of their businesses to Roster, Timekeep, and produce their Timesheet on the Prime Business Inzenius system with their payroll process, including and automated Award Interpretation and employee payroll distribution from the Franchisee or Subcontractors Bank account.

The process of reports and interfaces to their accounting system can be configured to provide upload reports or API connections.

The benefits of such a system include:

  • Employee Roster’s visibility to Contractor, Franchisee and Prime Business.
  • Employee attendance on-site validation for all parties
  • Employee automated timesheet from approved work times.
  • Reduced risks of award compliance breaches
  • Efficient payroll processing
  • Effective sub-contractor employee-supplied monitoring.


Recent Fairwork Penalties are outlined in the below article

Penalties for Underpayment of Stadium Cleaners

7 August 2023

The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a total of $332,964 in penalties in court in response to underpayment of cleaners at Etihad Stadium (now Marvel Stadium) in Melbourne’s Docklands.

The penalties are the result of an investigation and legal action by the Fair Work Ombudsman in response to 25 stadium cleaners being underpaid a total of $99,637 between February and June 2017 as a result of being paid unlawfully low flat rates.

The FWO investigated after receiving an underpayment allegation through its online anonymous tip-off tool, with Fair Work Inspectors making an unannounced late-night visit to Etihad Stadium after a 2017 AFL match to speak with cleaners and gather evidence.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court has now imposed penalties against the stadium’s principal cleaning contractor, a sub-contractor and two individual company directors:

  • Quayclean Australia Pty Ltd, a national cleaning company that holds the principal contract to provide cleaning services at the stadium, has been penalised $174,420.
  • Ranvel Pty Ltd, a Melbourne-based company formerly subcontracted by Quayclean to provide some of the cleaning services at the stadium, has been penalised $114,480.
  • Indika Udara Lokubalasuriya, owner-director of Ranvel, has been penalised $15,552.
  • Harjot Singh, who was a director of Melbourne-based company Lionheart Workforce Pty Ltd (which entered liquidation in September 2019 and was deregistered in October 2020), which was also formerly subcontracted by Quayclean to provide some cleaning services at the stadium, has been penalised $28,512.

The affected cleaners have been back-paid in full.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Kristen Hannah said the regulator was committed to taking action to address the exploitation of vulnerable workers in supply chains in high-risk industries such as cleaning.

“We welcome the substantial penalties in this case. We conduct thorough investigations of supply chains to gather the evidence we need and we are prepared to take action against multiple levels of supply chains for non-compliant conduct,” Ms Hannah said.

“Workers employed in the cleaning sector are low-paid, often vulnerable migrant workers with limited awareness of their workplace rights. We treat deliberate underpayments of such workers particularly seriously.

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact the FWO for free assistance.”

The investigation found that the 25 affected Etihad Stadium cleaners were underpaid entitlements under the Cleaning Services Award 2010, such as minimum ordinary hourly rates, casual loadings, penalty rates and overtime.

Lionheart and Mr Singh paid 11 cleaners flat hourly rates ranging from $7 to $23, resulting in total underpayments of $75,138.26. (Lionheart could not be pursued in court because it went into liquidation in September 2019).

Ranvel and Mr Lokubalasuriya paid 14 cleaners a flat rate of $16 per hour, resulting in total underpayments of $24,498.80.

Quayclean was involved as an accessory in most of the underpayment contraventions because the subcontract amounts it paid Ranvel and Lionheart were not sufficient to enable the companies to provide the relevant cleaning services whilst meeting employees’ minimum Award entitlements.

Judge Caroline Kirton found that all respondents had deliberately contravened workplace laws, noting that Quayclean had admitted knowing the funds it paid Lionheart and Ranvel were insufficient to enable the companies to comply with the Award.

In imposing the penalties, Judge Kirton found there was a need for general deterrence and that she was “conscious of the need to ensure that other businesses in the cleaning industry are deterred from engaging in similar conduct”. Fair Wor Web Ste Article