Adelaide Restaurant Facing Court After Refusing To Pay Fair Work Fines

In an Australian first, two Adelaide businesses will face court for refusing to pay on-the-spot fines for allegedly failing to issue regular payslips to workers recruited from China and India.

Hospitality Magazine, by Danielle Bowling, 18 February 2015

One of the businesses is Dragon Tea House Pty Ltd, which operates a Chinese restaurant in Pulteney Street. The business manager and majority owner, Xiaoxu Zhou is also facing legal action. The second business is a Glenelg-based mobile device repair business, Mobizone.

The restaurant refused to pay an $850 fine for their alleged workplace contraventions and now faces maximum penalties of up to $25,500, while Zhou faces penalties of up to $5,100.

The Fair Work Ombudsman audited the two businesses last year as part of its monitoring activity of employers who recruit staff on 457 skilled worker visas.

Dragon Tea House was allegedly failing to issue payslips to a restaurant manager on a 457 visa and a front of house employee on a student visa - both from China.

The Fair Work Act requires employers to issue employees with payslips within one working day of paying their wages.

Inspectors issued the restaurant with an $850 infringement, to be paid with 28 days, but according to Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James, the business neglected to pay up, despite inspectors making repeated requests for compliance.

This is the first time the Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action solely in relation to payslip contraventions after an Infringement Notice was ignored.

“We place a high importance on enforcing compliance with payslip obligations, because when employees don’t receive them, it undermines their ability to understand how their wages have been calculated and to check they’ve received their minimum lawful entitlements,” James said.

“It is particularly concerning when vulnerable overseas workers are not provided with payslips, because they are often not fully aware of their rights and entitlements under Australian workplace laws.” 

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