Media release

29 July 2009

Watchdog helps recover $24,000 back-pay for Toorak kitchen-hand

The Fair Work Ombudsman has helped to recover more than $24,000 for a kitchen-hand at a Toorak restaurant.

The employee, who no longer works for the business, was underpaid over a period of a year.

After workplace inspectors discussed payment obligations with the restaurant’s operators, they back-paid the worker all money owed.

A total of $24,238 was reimbursed to cover off the worker’s minimum hourly rate, penalty rates, annual leave entitlements and superannuation.

Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says the underpayment came about because of the employer’s lack of awareness of workplace law.

“In this case we are satisfied it was inadvertent and the employer has co-operated fully and promptly,” he said.

However, employers need to be aware that ignorance of workplace law is no excuse for failing to pay workers their full entitlements.

“I would encourage any employer who is unsure of what to pay their staff to contact our Infoline on 13 13 94 for advice,” he said.

The Fair Work Ombudsman promotes more co-operative, harmonious and productive Australian workplaces.

Mr Campbell says the Fair Work Ombudsman can help workers and employers to understand the recent changes to Australia’s workplace relations laws, including minimum rates of pay.

Employers or employees seeking assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit

Media inquiries:

Craig Bildstien, Director Media & Stakeholder Relations,
0419 818 484

Ryan Pedler, Media & Stakeholder Relations Senior Adviser
(03) 9954 2561, 0434 365 924


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Page last updated: 29 Jul 2009