Three Korean caf workers will receive a share in just under $40,000 in unpaid wages following an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The three workers – who spoke little English – were paid around $5.05 per hour over a nine month period while working at two Incanto Coffee outlets on Kent Street and George Street Sydney.

Fair Work launched an investigation after the three workers contacted the Agency about their wages before returning to Korea. The employees should have been paid according to the Restaurant Industry Award, under which they were entitled to a minimum hourly rate of $24.19 for normal hours and $43.38 on public holidays.

The employees were underpaid amounts of $17,807, $10,812 and $10,129 respectively – a total of $38,748 – for work performed between April and December, 2014. Record keeping and pay slip laws were also breached.

The owner-operators of the cafes – Kyung Jun Kim and his company Marsil Pty Ltd – have back-paid the workers in full and signed an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) with the Fair Work Ombudsman to ensure future compliance with workplace laws.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says that the Agency is increasingly finding cases of employers from non-English speaking backgrounds that are not appreciating the seriousness of failing to comply with their obligations under workplace relations laws.

James says 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.

“Anyone operating a business, including migrants, needs to ensure they take the time to understand the workplace laws applicable to their business,” she said.


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