George Calombaris of Made Establishment looking seriously at camera

George Calombaris’ Made Establishment has responded to criticism over an announcement that it could take until mid-next year to reimburse underpaid staff. In April, an internal audit uncovered $2.6 million in underpayments, affecting 162 of the hospitality empire’s 430 team members.

In a letter to staff on Monday night, the group’s CEO Troy McDonagh said staff would now receive their back-pay in a matter of weeks. According to Fairfax Media, McDonagh told staff, “we are committed to reconciling and settling your claim by Friday, 13 October, 2017 and we will continue to assess and process new claims received after this date within four weeks of receiving the inquiry.”

The Fair Work Ombudsman was advised of the incident and the company’s corrective action in April, and Made Establishment’s released a statement at the time saying it would work collaboratively with Fair Work throughout the process.

Fair Work first raised concerns about the group’s payroll system more in 2015. “Further investigation by us at this time should have uncovered the problem and allowed the business to act with more speed and focus to sort it out,” a statement from the Ombudsman reads.

The latest developments come at the tail-end of a difficult year for the group, with Calombaris pleading guilty to the common assault charges, legal action taken over a 2014 outbreak of norovirus, and former business partner George Sykiotis announcing his departure from the business.

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