The audit was prompted by employee enquiries and intelligence indicating that the employer wasn’t meeting its obligations
A café in the south of Melbourne has paid back some workers almost $10,000 after an audit conducted by the Fair Work Ombudsman found it had been underpaying employees as young as 18 years old.
Degani Bakery Café underpaid 15 workers, who were engaged as waiters or cooks in its Mornington outlet, by $9,375 between September and November 2016. The group included juniors under 21 and five others aged 25 or younger.
The Fair Work Ombudsman made the discovery after an audit that involved 14 Degani cafes. The audits were prompted by employee enquiries and intelligence that indicated some branches were not meeting their obligations.
The café paid flat rates of $18 to $21 an hour to its casual employees even as they were entitled to higher wages under the Restaurant Industry Award 2010.
The worker with the largest underpayment of $1,318, for example, was given a flat hourly rate of $20 despite being entitled to base rates including casual loading of $23.64, weekend rates of up to $28.37 and $47.28 on public holidays.
Degani also failed to provide unpaid meal breaks for employees who worked more than five hours, roster part-time employees for at least three consecutive hours and pay annual leave loading.
But the Mornington outlet’s operators Kerry Marie Rowson and her company, [email protected], fully cooperated with Fair Work inspectors after failing to correctly apply advice about annualised rates from a workplace relations advisory firm.
Under an Enforceable Undertaking they entered into with the Fair Work Ombudsman, Rowson and her company agreed to back-pay the workers in full and overhaul their business practices.
It will also apologise to workers and display notices in the workplace and on its website detailing the breaches it had committed.
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