A business in the regional Victorian town of Rutherglen has been ordered by Fair Work to reimburse 16 waiters, kitchen staff and cleaners a total of $6,800 after it was found to be underpaying their minimum hourly rates and penalty rates.

The underpayments occurred between July and October last year with the largest single underpayment amounting to $3,672.

Inspectors became aware of the underpayments when they proactively audited the business. Once the operators of the business were alerted by Fair Work of the underpayments, they promptly reimbursed the affected workers.

According to Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James, the underpayments were a result of the employer’s lack of awareness of the minimum pay rates that apply under the Hospitality Industry Award.

“It is important that there be a fair, competitive environment for employers who are doing the right thing by creating a level playing field in relation to business costs,” said James.

“Anyone operating a business needs to ensure they take the time to understand the workplace laws applicable to their business.”

Last week Fair Work announced that Queensland restaurant operator, Jia Ning Wang, will be 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.


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