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Australia The Pagoda Tree natural fertility clinic in Melbourne accused of withholding parental pay by Fair Work Ombudsman

00:25  21 november  2020
00:25  21 november  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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Natural Fertility Clinic located in Melbourne CBD. Helping both females and males with infertility issues since 1990. Natural fertility solutions using ancient herbal formulas.

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Nat Kringoudis sitting in a chair talking on a cell phone: Pagoda Tree owner Natalie Kringoudis allegedly underpaid an employee and withheld parental leave payments. (Supplied) © Provided by ABC News Pagoda Tree owner Natalie Kringoudis allegedly underpaid an employee and withheld parental leave payments. (Supplied)

The owner of a Melbourne fertility clinic has been accused of withholding thousands of dollars in government-funded parental leave payments from one of its staff and has been temporarily banned from practicing.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is taking legal action against Natalie Jade Kringoudis, the sole-director and owner of the Pagoda Tree (Vic) Pty Ltd, which operates The Pagoda Tree clinic in Albert Park.

The affected worker was employed as a Chinese medicine practitioner at the clinic when she took parental leave in 2018, the ombudsman said.

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Fair Work Online: www. fairwork .gov.au Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 Need language help? Ask for the Fair Work Infoline 13 13 94. The Fair Work Ombudsman is committed to providing advice that you can rely on.

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The ombudsman alleges Ms Kringoudis withheld more than half of the $12,948 owed in parental leave payments, and underpaid the employee by more than $10,000 in annual leave and other entitlements.

The Pagoda Tree promotes itself as a boutique natural fertility clinic, offering fertility and pregnancy treatments using traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture.

Ms Kringoudis, a published author and self-proclaimed "fertility expert", has also been banned from practicing temporarily while under investigation by the Health Complaints Commissioner, which has issued an interim prohibition order.

"It is necessary to make this order to avoid a serious risk to the health, safety or welfare of the public," the order states.

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Fertility testing, treatment costs for diagnostic tests, inseminations, IVF & egg donation. National ranges & fees at Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago. Low cost IVF clinics or "cheap IVF" clinics will sometimes be attractive to patients in a self pay situation. However the cheapest IVF is not always

The Fair Work Ombudsman website requires JavaScript. The Fair Work Act 2009 ensures that same sex de facto relationships are recognised for unpaid parental leave entitlements. The employer must pay the employee at their full rate of pay for the position they were in before the transfer and for

Under the order, Ms Kringoudis is prevented from advertising, offering or providing any health services which involve Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, or the treatment of mental health disorders or emotional disorders.

According to its website, The Pagoda Tree is open for acupuncture, natural fertility, traditional Chinese Medicine and Women's Health services.

"You will receive a post treatment letter, where we will outline specific diet and lifestyle advice to ensure you can start to support your own unique self outside of our four walls," its website reads.

"Because it takes two to make a baby, we offer an initial couples consultation where we will sit and discuss both you and your partner's health and health goals and form a treatment plan for you both."

Second legal action of its kind in Australia

It's only the second time the ombudsman has taken legal action against an employer for allegedly failing to pay paid parental leave entitlements to an employee.

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Fair Work Online: www. fairwork .gov.au Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 Need language help? Ask for the Fair Work Infoline 13 13 94. The Fair Work Ombudsman is committed to providing advice that you can rely on.

Those who are uninsured already face paying the full price for these and other health services. As unemployment continues to increase and people lose job-based coverage, some may regain coverage through options such as Medicaid, COBRA, or the ACA Marketplace, but others may remain uninsured.

In 2018, New South Wales man Kulpreet Singh and his company were fined more than $118,000 after falsely claiming he paid parental leave entitlements to an employee's husband.

Ombudsman Sandra Parker said it was important to protect the integrity of Government-funded schemes designed to support parents.

"Paid Parental Leave funds are for the direct benefit of parents, not employers, and we will act to ensure they are passed on in full as the law requires," Ms Parker said.

"All employee pay entitlements must be respected, and we will continue to take legal action in response to significant alleged contraventions.

"Workers with concerns should contact us."

All outstanding payments were repaid by The Pagoda Tree by September 2020, the ombudsman said, following its investigation.

The company faces up to $63,000 in penalties per contravention, while Ms Kringoudis faces up to $12,600 in penalties per contravention.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne for February 2021.

Ms Kringoudis has been contacted for comment.


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