SYDNEY, June 28 (Xinhua) -- A former gas station franchisee in Australia's New South Wales state capital Sydney has been fined nearly 100,000 Australian dollars (73,540 U.S. dollars) for falsifying the wage records of migrant staff who were mostly foreign students, authorities said on Thursday.
Peter Dagher and his company Aulion Pyu Ltd, formerly operating the Caltex Five Dock service station in the city's inner-western area, were fined after admitting to underpay six employees, including five international students, the Fair Work Ombudsman government workplace relations regulator said in a statement.
The penalty is the highest the Fair Work Ombudsman has secured in a legal action relating solely to record-keeping and pay slip breaches, the regulator's head Natalie James said.
"Financial penalties for failing to keep records and issue pay slips have significantly increased and any unscrupulous employer that frustrates a Fair Work Ombudsman time-and-wages investigation by using false records can now face prosecution in criminal court."
The regulator said the lack of accurate wage records prevented it from completing a full audit to investigate allegations that the service station workers were being paid just 12 Australian dollars (8.80 U.S. dollars) an hour.
The national minimum wage before tax is currently 18.29 Australian dollars (13.45 U.S. dollars) an hour, according to the regulator.