Yet again we see the hospitality sector in the media for underpaying employees. This time it is the famous Meatball and Wine Bar. It has been alleged that the owner of the establishment (Matteo Bruno) has underpaid 26 of his employees across the Richmond, Collingwood and CBD chain of restaurants. It has been reported these underpayments happened between July and October 2016 and total in excess of $14,000.
10 of the 26 employees were Visa holders (student and working) who were paid a flat rate of between $17.31 – $21.69 per hour and 7 of the employees were paid under the Award minimum during the 4-month audit. It has also been alleged that several employees were not paid their casual loadings while others were not paid overtime rates or weekend penalty rates.
Natalie James from the Fair Work Ombudsman stated Mr Bruno was aware of the employee’s entitlements under the Restaurant Industry Award 2010 after receiving pay and conditions guides from an advisor.
Natalie James went on to day “It is unacceptable for an employer to underpay workers after being directly advised of their obligations to meet the minimum employee pay rates.”
According to the Meatball and Wine Bar these underpayments have now been rectified and it was unintentional. Mr Bruno confirms the Meatball and Wine Bar is now in full compliance of the Restaurant Industry Award 2010.
Despite the underpayments being rectified, Fair Work have decided to start litigation as the breaches have been deemed as deliberate and a disregard for workers entitlements.
The case is listed for a directions hearing on 19 September in the Federal Circuit Court Melbourne.
If you would like to know more about the tougher penalties being introduced for employers underpaying employees, please read the attached blog written by resident HR Guru Jessy Warn https://hrgurus.com.au/new-legislation-increases-penalties-for-employers-underpaying-workers
If you are unsure if you are paying above Award wages you can check on the Fair Work Ombudsman website pay calculator: https://calculate.fairwork.gov.au/findyouraward
Or if you need any assistance in confirming your pay rates are correct, feel free to give us a call at HR Gurus on 1300 959 560.