Queensland restaurant operator, Jia Ning Wang, is facing court for allegedly paying a young Chinese national only $10 per hour and for breaching sham contracting laws.

An addition to only being paid $10 per hour for her 19 days of employment during July-August last year, the worker, who spoke little English, was told by Wang that she needed to have an Australian Business Number (ABN) or she could not work at the restaurant.

According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, the worker should have been classified as a casual employee, not an independent contractor. This means that the worker should have been paid the minimum entitlements applicable to her position under the Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010 which is inclusive of a normal hourly rate of $21 for normal hours and up to $26 for weekend and night work.

An investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman also found that record-keeping and pay-slip obligations were not met. Furthermore, a notice given to Wang to produce employment records to Fair Work was ignored.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said that the investigation followed a complaint for assistance by the worker and that all outstanding wages and entitlements have now been paid to her. However, James says that legal action has been initiated because Wang had previously been placed on notice for contravening workplace laws following requests for assistance from other employees at the restaurant and employees of another business he has operated.

“We treat alleged underpayment of visa-holders particularly seriously because they can be vulnerable if they are not fully aware of their workplace rights in Australia,” said James.

Golden Vision Food and Beverage Services Pty Ltd faces maximum penalties of up to $51,000 per contravention and Wang faces penalties of up to $10,200 per contravention. The Fair Work Ombudsman is also seeking a Federal Circuit Court Order that Wang commission an audit of his company’s compliance with workplace laws and report the results to the Agency.


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