Two Alice Springs restaurants have been ordered to backpay dozens of workers close to $25,000 in wages and entitlements following an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

One of the restaurants was found to have shortchanged its restaurant and kitchen staff close to $15,000 by underpaying the minimum hourly rates and penalty rates for weekend and night work – the largest individual payment of which amounted to $6,600.

The business claimed that the errors occurred because it received incorrect advice for an accountant on how to calculate wages.

The second restaurant was found to have underpaid its workers $10,000 because it applied the incorrect award rate.

The underpayments were identified as part of pro-active compliance and education campaign in Alice Springs by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

“It’s important for employers to be fully aware of the pay rates that apply to their employees, otherwise they can end up facing wages bills they weren’t budgeting for,” said Fair Work Ombudsman, Natalie James.

Earlier this week, a business in the regional Victorian town of Rutherglen has been ordered by Fair Work to reimburse 16 waiters, kitchen staff and cleaners a total of $6,800 after it was found to be underpaying their minimum hourly rates and penalty rates.

The underpayments occurred between July and October last year with the largest single underpayment amounting to $3,672.

Inspectors became aware of the underpayments when they proactively audited the business. Once the operators of the business were alerted by Fair Work of the underpayments, they promptly reimbursed the affected workers.


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