Farm fined after backpacker works 88 days straight

Friday 12 May, 2017

Source - Brisbane Times - May 12, 2017 - Original Article

Operators of a remote Queensland beef cattle farm have been fined $130,000 for failing to pay overtime entitlements to overseas backpackers, one of whom worked 88 days straight.


The Fair Work Ombudsman brought legal action against Robert Maudsley, who runs a cattle feedlot west of Gympie, after he and his company underpaid six backpackers from Ireland and the UK a total of $38,254 between January 2014 and September 2015.

Cattle farmer

Three of the backpackers didn't have a single day off during their stint with the farm, where they started working to qualify for a second-year extension to their 417 working holiday visas, and respectively worked 64, 80 and 88 days straight.

"I am particularly disappointed that in this instance we have had to proceed to litigation, given the employer was previously put on notice through their interactions with my agency," Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said.

Mr Maudsley was penalised $20,000 and Waterfall Feedlot Pty Ltd, of which he is a director, has been ordered to pay a further $110,000 by the Federal Circuit Court.

The backpackers - five men and one woman aged in their 20s - responded to an advertisement for farm work on Gumtree and have since been paid in full.


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