Another high-profile Australian chef has become entangled in underpayment accusations.

It’s alleged Melbourne restaurants Ezard and Gingerboy, both operated by Teage Ezard, have been paying chefs as little as $15 an hour through the use of excessive unpaid overtime.

Rosters, pay slips and other reports leaked to The Sunday Age suggest chefs at the venues regularly work more than 60 hours per week, with one employee telling the paper he often worked 70 hours a week but was only paid for 38.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is investigating the claims, with a recent complaint lodged with the Ombudsman indicating one chef had been underpaid more than $20,000 a year .

A spokesperson for the FWO said: “The Fair Work Ombudsman will conduct enquiries into this matter. We encourage any workers with concerns to contact us directly for assistance.”

The allegations are the latest in a sting of claims made against prominent restaurant businesses.

Rockpool Dining Group committed to back paying workers $1.6 million, while Bistro Guillaume, owned and operated by high-profile French chef Guillaume Brahimi, faced accusations of underpayment in October 2018, then, in December 2018, Dinner by Heston came under fire for potentially underpaying individual chefs up to $30,000 per year.

Underpayments are a widespread concern for the industry. In 2019 alone, the FWO has has commenced legal action against the operators of three Hero Sushi takeaway outlets for allegedly underpaying 94 workers up to $694,00 and company and its director that underpaid 54 workers at a 24-hour café in Melbourne’s Crown Casino precinct were penalised $250,000.

[image] Broadsheet

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