Media company takes advantage of interns

Based in Sydney, media company AIMG BQ Pty Ltd is under fire after the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) found that it was running an unlawful intern program and underpaid two workers over $18,000.

The website and publications company targeted Australia’s Chinese community. One of their employees was an international student from China, who was studying at the University of Technology. It was allegedly unlawful for her internship to be unpaid because the student was performing productive work, which was not a formal part of her university studies. The second employee was also originally from China but a permanent Australian resident.

The two workers were employed as event coordinators and paid a flat rate of $100 a day, or $13.33 an hour. Under the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010, this amount is not enough to cover the minimum hourly rates and entitlements for employees.

AIMG BQ Pty Ltd supposedly required the workers to perform an internship of 180 hours of unpaid casual work, over a four month period before it began to pay wages.

However, under the award, the workers were entitled to more than $19 an hour for normal working hours and up to $38.30 for overtime, weekends and public holidays.

The company allegedly breached regulations several times and now faces the maximum penalty of up to $51,000 per contravention. In addition to that, Director Zhao Qing Jiang faces a maximum penalty of up to $10,200 for just one of the purported breaches.