A Perth wholesale sushi supplier will back-pay a worker more than $13,000 and overhaul its workplace practices under a new Enforceable Undertaking (EU) signed with the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Prime Enterprise Holdings Pty Ltd operates a wholesale sushi preparation factory, catering services and ten fast food outlets and restaurants across Western Australia.

The former worker, a Chinese national working in Australia on a 457 spousal visa, was employed as a part-time sushi-maker at the company’s wholesale factory in O’Connor.

The worker contacted the Fair Work Ombudsman with concerns she was not being paid the correct rate for night-shift work. A Fair Work investigation found the worker was paid flat rates of between $12 and $18.29 per hour but was entitled to significantly higher casual rates under the Food, Beverage and Tobacco Manufacturing Industry Award 2010.

According to the Award, she was entitled to hourly base rates of up to $23.51 and should have received up to $47.02 per hour for Sunday shift work and up to an additional $7.05 per hour for night shift allowances.

In total, the worker was underpaid $13,047.88 over 11 months.

The company and its director, BaoRong Jia, cooperated with Fair Work and entered into an EU to ensure future workplace compliance. Under the EU, the worker will be fully back-paid by the end of this month.

The EU also requires the company to engage, at its own expense, an external auditor to conduct two audits checking compliance with workplace laws across a range of its sites. They must also make copies of the applicable Award available to all employees.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said that the EU imposes obligations on the company to substantially improve compliance with workplace laws, which will benefit more than 90 employees.

“This case serves as an important reminder to all business operators in Australia that it is never OK to pay migrants or visa holders a going rate that undercuts the lawful minimum wage rates that apply across Australia,” she says.

Prime Enterprise Holdings has also agreed to donate $5000 to the Metropolitan Migrant Resources Centre, which supports migrants entering the workforce. The donation aims to assist in the promotion of compliance with Australian workplace laws within the migrant community.

“Every single worker in Australia has the same workplace rights, regardless of their citizenship, ethnicity or cultural and linguistic background,” says Parker.

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