Ex-United Petroleum operator in court

The former operator and part-owner of a United Petroleum roadhouse in regional New South Wales is set to face court after allegedly withholding more than $11,000 in government-funded parental leave payments it was required to pay to a visa holder.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched legal proceedings against Kulpreet Singh, former operator and part-owner of the United Petroleum roadhouse at Marrangaroo, near Lithgow. Also facing court is Noorpreet Pty Ltd, where Mr Singh is a director.

The employee was working as a chef at the restaurant on a 487 skilled regional sponsored visa at the time she had a child and has since become an Australian citizen.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) transferred $11,538 to Noorpreet in April, 2015 for the company to transfer to the employee following the birth of her child.

She was entitled to the funds under the Commonwealth Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme. After the employee complained to DHS that her employer had not paid her the money, the matter was referred to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Mr Singh allegedly made a false document purporting to show that he paid the parental leave funds in cash to the employee’s husband in May, 2015. The Fair Work Ombudsman challenged the veracity of the document.

Mr Singh and Noorpreet transferred the money to the employee in October last year, more than five months after it was due.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says employers who contravene the law and deliberately mislead investigators can expect to face legal action.

It is the first time the Fair Work Ombudsman has taken legal action against an employer for failing to transfer Paid Parental Leave funds to an employee.

Mr Singh and Noorpreet Pty Ltd face penalties of up to $10,200 and $51,000 respectively for one contravention of the Paid Parental Leave Act relating to the alleged failure to provide the parental leave funds to the employee within the required time frame.

In addition, Mr Singh and Noorpreet Pty Ltd face penalties of up to $5100 and $25,500 per contravention for a number of alleged breaches of the Fair Work Act relating to records and pay- slips.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney for June 15.

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