The former operator of Brisbane’s Cafe 63 Racecourse Rd in Hamilton Central has been fined for underpaying 33 employees.

The Fair Work Ombudsman took operator Hamish Russell Watson to court where it was found he partially paid workers in food and drink between July-August 2017 and November 2017-January 2018.

Staff were underpaid a total of $36,653 during the first period with the second period seeing workers partially ‘paid’ in food and beverage.

The employees were under Individual Flexibility Agreements that provided flat hourly rates and ‘allowances’ instead of penalty and overtime rates.

One allowance was the right to a $35 daily cap for meals, leading to the company breaching its obligation under the Fair Work Act to pay employees in money.

It was also found the company failed to provide details on how employees would benefit under the arrangement over the award and some IFAs were not recorded in writing. Written part-time agreements with part-time employees were also not recorded.

Watson was involved in all breaches except for two relating into IFAs.

Judge Michael Jarrett said Watson continued to breach obligations despite receiving information from the Fair Work Ombudsman.

“The contraventions relating to the first period and the second period are both deliberate and serious and represent a significant departure from the standards of conduct expected from employers and those that control them,” said Judge Jarrett.

The court has imposted a $130,000 penalty against 63 Racecourse Rd Pty Ltd and fined Watson $40,000.

“The penalties in this matter make clear that paying flat rates that undercut award entitlements, and failing to follow the important laws for individual flexibility arrangements or part-time agreements will not be tolerated”, said Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker.