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Ordered To Backpay 22 Of His Underpaid Employees (Read 120 times)
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Australian Politics

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Ordered To Backpay 22 Of His Underpaid Employees
Mar 16th, 2019 at 4:57am
Indian restaurant owner ordered to backpay 22 of his underpaid employees

Gold Coast based Saffron Indian Gourmet restaurant was found to have underpaid 22 of it’s employees over $50,000 between January and May 2018. It has now entered into a law-abiding agreement to ensure that such breaches don’t occur again.

15 Mar 2019  SBS News

After an employee of the Saffron Indian Gourmet restaurant tipped off Fair Work about underpayment to staff, which included non-payment of penalty rates or overtime, Fair Work inspectors decided to investigate.   Sad

They arrived unannounced at the at Broadbeach restaurant and found  that “22 workers were paid flat hourly rates between $15 and $18.50 leading to underpayment of the ordinary hourly rates, casual loadings, and weekend and public holiday penalty rates under Restaurant Industry Award.”

    It was found that the 22 employees were cumulatively owed a total of $54,470, for underpayments that occurred over a period of five months between January and May last year.

Although all the employees were found to have valid visas, a majority of them were international students. According to Fair Work,” Most of the employees were visa holders, including 14 international students and five temporary work visa holders. Underpayments of individual workers ranged from $143 to $9,457.”   Sad

Director and Manager of the restaurant, Sridhar Penumechchu has now signed up to a Court Enforceable Undertaking (EU), and it is expected that workplace practices will improve significantly.

As required under the EU, Saffron Indian Gourmet has begun repaying the underpaid employees through a back-payment plan and it will also make a $25,000 donation to the Gold Coast Community Legal Centre.

Furthermore, the restaurant will have to commission external professionals to conduct  two audits of the pay and conditions of all employees and demonstrate how it is complying with the Fair Work Act.

Citing this as an example of how the anonymous dob-in line is working, Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said, “If you know a workplace that isn’t doing the right thing but don’t want to get involved, you can report it to us anonymously in English or 16 other languages.”

“In this matter, one tip off to the Fair Work Ombudsman led to one employer back-paying 22 employees over $50,000,” she added.

“All workers in Australia have the same workplace rights, regardless of their citizenship or visa status. This restaurant’s hefty back payment bill should serve as a warning to all businesses that they must pay the lawful minimum wage rates that apply to their workers,” Ms Parker said.

The FWO office has emphasised that, “Migrant workers should be aware that, in line with an agreement with the Department of Home Affairs, they can seek assistance from the FWO without fear of their visa being cancelled.”
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