Brisbane hospitality workers recover unpaid wages
In one case, a dozen workers employed at a Fortitude Valley restaurant, including a number of visa holders from Colombia, received a total of $24,032 after they were underpaid their minimum hourly rates. The casual waiters and cooks were paid flat rates of $20 per hour for all hours worked.
Under the Restaurant Industry Award 2010 at the time, they were entitled to receive hourly rates of up to $23.09 for ordinary hours, up to $27.71 on weekends and up to $46.18 on public holidays.
Fair Work Inspectors issued the employer with a formal caution and two on-the-spot fines.
In another matter, nine waiters in Graceville – some as young as 15 years old – were reimbursed $9247 after they were paid flat rates of $12 per hour.
Fair Work Inspectors informed the business that although the flat rates of pay exceeded the rate for ordinary hours, they were not high enough to satisfy all entitlements prescribed by the award. The business was also issued with a formal caution.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said in both cases it was the first time the employer had come to the agency’s attention and the errors were quickly rectified.
“In these cases we decided the best outcome was to make sure the workers were repaid quickly and lengthy court proceedings were not necessary as these were out first interactions with these businesses,” she said.
“However, with the wealth of free advice and educational material on our website and the availability of our small business helpline, there is no excuse for businesses to make these mistakes.
“We conduct follow-up audits of businesses previously found to be non-compliant to make sure they have changed their ways. Repeat offenders can expect to face enforcement action including potential litigation and significant court penalties.”