Fair Work orders Perth restaurant to backpay staff

28 August, 2015 by
Aoife Boothroyd

Two international students and an overseas backpacker working on a 417 working holiday visa were among five employees to receive back pay from their employer following an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

According to Fair Work, Malaysian Dining Delights restaurant located in Bentley, Perth, paid five workers aged between 22 and 41 as little as $15 per hour.

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The five employees were being underpaid their minimum hourly rate, overtime, weekend, evening and public holiday rates and split shift allowances equating to almost $4,200 between July 2014 and January this year. Individual underpayments ranged from $233 to $2175.

Restaurant director Soon Huat Koh told Fair Work inspectors he was unaware of Australia’s minimum pay rates or the Restaurant Industry Award 2010. Koh also received an on the spot fine of $850 for failing to issue pay slips.

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Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says that while the Malaysian Dining Delights business has no previous record of non-compliance with workplace laws, it is important that the Agency takes steps to ensure behavioural change.

Fair Work has requested the business and Koh sign an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) requiring certain actions to ensure future compliance with their workplace obligations.

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Last week, a high profile restaurant on Sydney Harbour was put on notice by Fair Work after a number of underpayment complaints were made by staff members.

In one case, an Italian backpacker on a 417 working holiday visa was allegedly short-changed almost $6,000 while working as a kitchen hand in 2014.

The Fair Work Ombudsman found the employee was paid a flat hourly rate of $16.50 in the last six weeks of his employment. While the employee was paid higher hourly rates before this time, they were not enough to cover casual loading and penalty rates.