AEU News

The Fair Work Ombudsman has faced the former operator of a Melbourne juice and coffee bar in court for a second time after the business refused to issue $14,000 in JobKeeper payments to an employee.

A compliance notice was first issued to Rika Foods North Melbourne Pty Ltd in November 2021 by Fair Work inspectors after the affected worker requested assistance.

The business was ordered to provide outstanding JobKeeper payments to the worker within four weeks, however it failed to do so.

The matter then moved to court where Rika Foods North Melbourne Pty Ltd and company director Radomir Pantovic were slapped with $11,988 in court penalties and ordered to back-pay the worker.

After again failing to pay the $14,000 amount to the worker, an additional penalty of $26,640 has now been secured against the company in court, which has been ordered to back-pay the worker with interest.

“Of course, the whole point of JobKeeper payments to employers was to enable them to pay their staff when business was slow or non-existent,” said Judge Heather Riley.

“The point of JobKeeper payments was not for employers to retain the money for their own benefit, as has happened in this case.”

Judge Riley also ordered the matter be referred to the Commissioner of Taxation “for investigation into whether the respondents have breached any laws administered by the Commissioner in circumstances where the respondents have admitted to failing to remit JobKeeper payments”.