Cairns operator cops $86,000 penalty

21 July, 2020 by
Hospitality Magazine

The operator of two food outlets in northern Queensland has been slapped with an $86,000 fine for deliberately underpaying 18 workers.

Mashnicisa Pty Ltd, which operated the Buenavista Kuranda café at Kuranda and the Donut Joint outlet in the Cairns suburb of Smithfield, was handed a $70,000 fine while the company’s owner Maurice Arias received a $16,000 penalty. Mashnicisa Pty Ltd and Arias have also been ordered to back-pay the employees, plus interest.

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Fair Work Inspectors investigated the business after employees requested assistance from the regulator. It was found that 18 employees, including 11 juniors aged between 15 and 18, were underpaid a total of $13,913.63 over a period of about three months in 2018. Individual underpayments range from $37.09 to $6034.26.

One worker was paid nothing for approximately four weeks’ work. Others were generally paid rates that were not sufficient to cover the weekend and public holiday penalty rates, overtime rates and evening loadings they were entitled to under the Fast Food Industry Award 2010.

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Mashnicisa Pty Ltd and Arias also failed to comply with a ‘Notice to Produce’ and provided the FWO with false or misleading payroll documents. They also failed to provide new employees with a Fair Work Information Statement and breached record-keeping laws.

Judge Michael Jarrett said he was not satisfied Arias and his company had accepted any wrongdoing or expressed credible regret, adding the use of false records demonstrated a “dishonest intention” from Arias.

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“It is important to send a message to other employers working within the fast food industry that non-compliance with the minimum standards, including the payment of overtime and penalty rates to junior staff, will not be tolerated,” Judge Jarrett said.

Arias and his company were ordered to commission independent audits of their compliance with the Fair Work Act 2009 and Fast Food Industry Award 2010 and provide the results to the FWO; display a workplace notice detailing employee workplace rights; and register with the My Account portal at www.fairwork.gov.au and complete the courses for employers.

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