NSW Legal rights when employer is late to pay wages

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by Taylored, 15 January 2020.

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  1. Taylored

    Taylored Member

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    My family recently relocated from the US to Australia for my husband work. He started in November and his first months wages were 15 days late, now his second lot of wages are 15 days late and counting. Employer is blaming it on a delayed international transfer but we are concerned that we can not survive financially with such unreliable income ( single income family, two young kids)

    We were given a relocation package which would need to be paid back if he left the company with one year.
    If he left now it would only be because the wages are late and we can’t survive financially, Would he still be required to pay back the relocation amount if he left due to unpaid or untimely payment of wages?

    What legal steps can/should he take now to receive the wages which are currently owing to him?

    Thank you
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Lawyer
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    First step is look into having the wages paid into a local bank account, and then you manage the international transfer.

    I can't comment on the paying back of the relocation package, however I'd be very wary of leaving the employment because of international bank transfers which may be beyond the control of the employer.

    I don't do international transfers so don't know if 15 days is reasonable for some transfers. Check with your bank.
     
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  3. Taylored

    Taylored Member

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    Thank you for your reply. I must clarify, we are Australian and have a local bank account. The employer advises that the delay is with his bank transferring money from Singapore where the head quarters are established. So far his first payment was 15 days late and we are yet to receive his second and third month of pay.

    Husband will need to resign by end of this week if we don’t get paid to keep the income coming through but we are concerned we will be held liable for the relocation costs. The contract states he will have to repay them if he quits within a year. We believe that he is only having to quit because the employer broke the terms of the agreement first by not paying him so we shouldn’t be held liable for relocation costs?
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Lawyer
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    Without seeing paperwork it is hard to comment.

    Under Australian law it may be possible to avoid repaying costs. UK citizen, Singapore company, job in Australia = uncertainty as to which country's legal system is the right place to be. Would need to read the contracts/emails to work out what can happen.
     
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  5. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer
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    First things first - is the actual employer an Australian entity?
    Or, is he paid directly out of the US, and directly employed by an American company?

    Next - Perhaps he doesn't need to formally resign.
    Perhaps he just needs to find another job, to generate income for you to live on
    while this gets sorted out. Luckily, as citizens (rather than being expats),
    you can do as you please in this respect.

    What you want to avoid is a situation where the American based employer
    purports to offset the wages that employer owes, against any supposed obligation to repay the relocation costs.

    I suggest that you plan for a scenario in which you will never see this money.
    Sad reality is, that the cost of running an action in the US to recover it
    would probably exceed the amount owed, and take an impractically long time.
     
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  6. Taylored

    Taylored Member

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    Thanks for your response. To clarify it is an Australian entity, we were just living in the US working for a different employer and my husband was recruited to return to Australia to work for this company.

    So we moved they paid a lump sum relocation, then they paid his first monthly wages 15 days late and second and third month are still pending.

    He will need to seek other employment next week if he doesn’t get paid this week. If he has to do that can we argue he did not voluntarily resign and therefore not liable to pay back relocation. ( that contract clearly states if he resigns voluntarily in the first year he will be liable)

    If they do pay him this week and he still decides to go (they have blatantly lied to us on many occasions so all trust is gone) we think they would still be in breach of the contract because the money came through so late, but not sure if he would be liable for relocation payback?

    We feel pretty hard done by if either of those scenarios play out.

    Thanks for your time.
     
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