Cafe coffee machine in action making espresso. Penalty rates for Sunday workers have been upheld by the Federal Court.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has assisted a barista in Campbellfield to recover more than $29,000 in unpaid wages and entitlements after they contacted the agency for assistance.

The worker was back-paid $29,061 after establishing they had been underpaid for the duration of their employment.

For three years, the worker received flat rates of between $17 and $19 per hour for all hours worked, resulting in an underpayment of minimum hourly rates and penalty rates.

Under the Fast Food Industry Award 2010, as a casual, the worker was entitled to receive up to $23.74 for ordinary hours, $28.49 on Saturdays, $33.24 on Sundays and $52.23 on public holidays.

The café was issued with a Letter of Caution, placing it on notice that future breaches of workplace laws may attract enforcement action.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the business promptly agreed to reimburse the worker after having their obligations explained to them.

“These breaches resulted from a lack of understanding of workplace laws, highlighting the importance of employers getting informed about their workplace obligations,” says James.

“When we identify errors, we assist all parties to rectify the issues as quickly as possible and put processes in place to ensure mistakes are not repeated.

“Following intervention by my agency, the employer cooperated with inspectors and quickly paid the worker their missing entitlements. [This] company [has] been put on notice and future mistakes could lead to serious intervention, including litigation.

“I encourage employers to make use of the range of resources available on our website and inform themselves about their workplace obligations, and to get in touch with my agency if they need free advice.”

Image credit: Reader’s Digest

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