Fair Work Orders Sydney Restaurant To Back Pay $51,000 To Former Employee

A Sydney restaurant has been ordered to back pay an employee $51,158 in underpayments following a complaint to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Hospitality Magazine, by Aoife Boothroyd, 21 January 2015

The employee, a cook recruited from South Korea under the 457 skilled visa program, was promised pay of $52,000 per year to work at the Carre Noir restaurant at The Concourse in Chatswood, but only received $15,000 over a 13 month period.

Fair Work inspectors found the cook had been underpaid a total of $51,158 between April, 2013 and May, 2014.

The restaurant was run by Paul & Holly Pty Ltd which has since ceased to operate. In addition to underpayments, Paul & Holly Pty Ltd also failed to keep accurate employee records or issue payslips within one business day of wages being paid.

Samuel Han, restaurant manager of Carre Noir struck an agreement with the Fair Work Ombudsman to repay all outstanding wages and entitlements to the former cook by the end of March this year.

Fair Work say that Han has co-operated fully with the authority and agreed to sign an Enforceable Undertaking which requires Han to:

  • Make a written apology to the former employee
  • Place an advertisement in the local newspaper expressing sincere regret for the behavior and giving a public commitment that it will not occur again
  • Register with the Fair Work Ombudsman’s My Account Portal and demonstrate to Fair Work inspectors an understanding of how to calculate wages and conditions under the Restaurant Industry Award
  • Make a $1000 donation to the NSW Working Women’s Centre towards education of workplace rights and obligations, and
  • Conduct self-audits of workplace compliance at six monthly intervals for three years upon re-employing staff in the future.

“We know workplace laws can be complicated for the uninitiated, and for those who are not industrial experts, but we ask small business to use the tools and resources that we provide for them and inform themselves,” says Fair Work Ombudsman, Natalie James.

“We use Enforceable Undertakings where we have formed a view that a breach of the law has occurred, but where the employer has acknowledged this and accepted responsibility and agreed to co-operate with us and fix the problem.”

James says that many of the initiatives included in Enforceable Undertakings help to build a greater understanding of workplace responsibilities and motivate companies abide by workplace laws and help them avoid the same mistakes again.

“It also means we can resolve matters more speedily than if we proceed down a path towards litigation,” she says.

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