An investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman has found that three apprentice chefs working in Coffs Harbour were underpaid over $22,000.

Investigators found that an adult apprentice aged in his mid-20s was underpaid a total of $9,500 while working in a local caf over a seven month period. The apprentice was paid junior rates of $11 for normal hours, and $16.50 on Sundays. However under the Restaurant Industry Award, he was entitled to a normal rate of $15.71 and up to $23.57 on Sundays.

In addition, investigators found that the apprentice was not paid any overtime, despite working up to 54 hours a week, and did not receive paid meal breaks, annual leave or minimum engagement entitlements.

Investigators also found that a further two apprentice chefs working at a local restaurant were underpaid close to $13,000 due to incorrect weekend, public holiday and overtime rates over a six month period.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says Coffs Harbour businesses need to ensure they understand the wage rates applicable to their business, including penalty rates for overtime, weekend and evening shifts.

Just last week, a Robina restaurant and a Carrara takeaway food outlet were ordered to backpay a dozen employees more than $23,000, following audits by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The employers of both establishments are from non-English speaking backgrounds and claimed to be unaware of their workplace obligations. Click here to read the full article.

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