The operator of a Brisbane café will face court for a directions hearing on 16 October 2020 for allegedly breaching workplace laws.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is alleging that 63 Racecourse Rd Pty Ltd, which operated a café trading as ‘Café 63 Racecourse Rd’ in Hamilton Central, and the company’s sole director and shareholder, Hamish Watson, breached laws during two separate periods: August 2017 and November 2017-to-January 2018.

During the first period, August 2017, it is alleged employees were underpaid a total of $36,663, mostly due to underpayment of various rates and entitlements. Watson was allegedly involved in these breaches.

During the second period, from November 2017 to January 2018, it’s alleged were paid according to Individual Flexibility Agreements (IFAs) that provided for flat hourly rates and ‘allowances’, instead of being provided penalty rates and overtime rates.

It is alleged the ‘allowances’ in the IFAs included a daily allowance of food and drink up to the value of $35 per day, including $20 in meals and $15 in drinks.

FWO alleges that the conduct of 63 Racecourse Rd Pty Ltd breached the provision of the Fair Work Act requiring that employees be paid in money. Watson was also allegedly involved in this breach.

There are workplace laws outlining requirements that must be met when entering into IFAs with employees, and it’s alleged 63 Racecourse Rd Pty Ltd breached these.

Most of the 32 allegedly underpaid workers were visa holders who worked as cooks, kitchen attendants and food and beverage attendants.

63 Racecourse Rd Pty Ltd faces maximum penalties per breach of up to $63,000, while Watson faces maximum penalties per breach of up to $12,600.

A court order requiring the company and Watson back-pay employees in full less any back payments that have already been made will also be sought.

“Improving compliance with workplace laws in the fast food, restaurant and cafe sector, which employs many vulnerable workers, continues to be a priority for the Fair Work Ombudsman,” Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said.

“All workers in Australia have the same rights at work regardless of nationality or visa status. Anyone with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us. ”

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