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Aussie boss's 'highly illegal' act exposed as leaked texts reveal bitter $2,200 pay dispute

The business has been warned they could suffer 'enormous penalties' if staff aren't paid on time.

A Sydney worker has leaked a message they allegedly received from their boss about a bitter pay dispute. They revealed staff had been constantly paid late due to cash flow issues at the business and the latest delay was the straw that broke the camel's back.

The staff member told Yahoo Finance they didn't want to name the business or boss but has already started looking at other jobs. Recruitment expert Graham Wynn revealed businesses can face “enormous penalties” for not paying staff on time and that people affected by consistent pay issues can go to the Fair Work Commission.

“If there's a problem, then it'll be dealt with straight away,” he told Yahoo Finance. “They won't mess around these days.”

Screenshot of text message next to worker looking at phone
The boss allegedly told the worker they wouldn't have to come into the office for a week and wouldn't be paid. (Source: Reddit/Getty)

Have you had an awkward encounter with your workplace? Email stew.perrie@yahooinc.com

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The staff member sent a text message three minutes before 9am on Monday saying they weren't coming into the office. They apologised for the late notice but insisted they wouldn't be able to work that day.

They received a reply from someone on behalf of the boss who told them not to come in for the rest of the week.

"You will have this week off and it will be not paid, you will be coming back next Monday 6/05/2024. And he will discuss your employment situation on that day," the boss said.

The worker was also told not to call their boss during that time off.

"Our wages have been consistently late this year due to the business’s cash flow issues. Late wages are just one of the many symptoms that we’ve been facing as a result of this," the worker explained.

The worker said they were waiting to be paid more than $2,200, but there was "no chance" they were going to keep working until they received their money.

"I’ve been looking for other jobs already anyway, and the big kicker is the boss is f**ked without me," they added. "It’s a tiny company (three staff in office) and I’m relied on for absolutely everything. I’m primarily a technician, but over the past two years I’ve had to do all sorts of shit because of the lack of competence with other staff and the boss himself.”

Not only had they allegedly not been paid thousands of dollars, but they also hadn’t any superannuation contributions for the last one and a half years.

They posted the message exchange on social media in the hope someone would tell them whether this was legal to have forced time off without pay at short notice.

“Under normal circumstances, you can't just say to people, ‘Don't come to work next week, but you won’t get paid for it’. You just can't do that,” Wynn explained to Yahoo Finance.

“If you ever see your superannuation is not paying on time, you just straightaway contact Fair Work or the ATO [Australian Taxation Office] and they'll deal with it immediately.

“Employers have got to pay you on time, that's the law and they've got to submit superannuation payments on time. If they don't do it, they're breaching the law, it’s as simple as that.”

He said businesses can be forced to close or pushed into bankruptcy or liquidation if found guilty of not paying staff properly.

People called on the workers to report their boss over the unpaid salary and super.

“If you are Aussie this is HIGHLY illegal,” said one social media user.

“The best part is old mate put this in writing for you,” wrote another.

The worker said they intended to speak to the Fair Work Commission this week to get it sorted out.

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