Bosses of a Chinese noodle franchise failed to pay workers on 457 visas close to $650,000 over the last three years, court documents from the workplace regulator show.
The Age, by Esther Han, 21 January 2014
Six Chinese cooks and kitchen supervisors employed at Yummy Noodle Box takeaway shops in Dubbo, Orange, Bathurst as well as Bundaberg, Queensland, between July 2010 and March last year are collectively owed $642,311.
The legal action coincides with the Fair Work Ombudsman's announcement of a national audit of 600 fast food outlets to clamp down on unscrupulous bosses underpaying staff and failing to adhere to pay documentation rules.
The regulator has taken legal action against W.X.Z. Enterprises and Xin Tai Xu and Xin Chun Xu, who both determined pay rates at the company, after employees complained.
The men are accused of paying a flat weekly wage as low as $530, despite some of the employees working for more than 60 hours a week. Weekend penalty rates, public holiday and overtime pay and leave entitlements were withheld.
A Chinese man who worked at a Dubbo store was shortchanged $189,000. A male head cook who paid utilities, paid employees and ordered stock, is owed $129,000, while his Bathurst store colleague is owed $125,000.
Another two noodle chefs at the takeaway in Orange are hoping to receive $100,000 in total in back payments. A Chinese woman who cooked, cleaned and took orders at the Queensland store is expecting a $92,000 payment.
The W.X.Z. Enterprises defendants face penalties up to $51,000 for each breach of the workplace law.
In September a Perth cleaning company was slapped with a record-breaking $340,000 fine for underpaying six workers on working holiday visas from countries including Taiwan, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Ireland.
Last financial year, the workplace authority obtained $1.4 million in entitlements for underpayment for 2018 visa workers and $371,000 for 259 complainants holding 457 visas.