Café owes workers $138,000, must report wages for three years

Author: Harrison HR | Blog

A Lismore café, which underpaid its workers $138,000, will have to report its wage rates to the Fair Work Ombudsman for the next three years.

Ejack Pty Ltd, which underpaid more than 70 casual waiting staff and short-order cooks over two and a half years, has also pledged to repay all outstanding wages.

The company’s sole director, John Kenny, has already back paid $45,000 and agreed to ensure the $93,000 balance is repaid in regular instalments.

Complaint

Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell said the underpayments (which occurred between March 2006 and October 2008) came to light after the agency investigated a complaint from a former employee.

Ejack was failing to pay casual staff their required minimum rate of pay and penalty rates for weekends and public holidays.

Kenny has entered into an enforceable undertaking — a mechanism now being used by the Fair Work Ombudsman as an alternative to litigation — which requires him to:

  • aologise to all current and past employees for the contraventions
  • conduct a paid meeting of current employees who were underpaid to explain the back-payment plan
  • invite a representative of the Fair Work Ombudsman to explain the enforceable undertaking to staff
  • undertake an accredited training course, by the end of April 2011, on the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees under the Fair Work Act 2009
  • regularly review rates of pay and employee entitlements
  • contact the Fair Work Ombudsman on a regular basis to ensure staff are being paid correctly
  • allow regular visits to the café from Fair Work inspectors
  • report to the Fair Work Ombudsman at the end of each financial year for the next three years on staff numbers, employment status, classifications, age and their respective wage rates and entitlements.

In its letter of apology, Ejack expressed its ‘sincere regret’ for its failure to comply with its lawful obligations, describing the underpayments as an ‘unfortunate situation’.

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