22 February 2010
Brisbane cafe back-pays students $120,000 after Fair Work Ombudsman investigation
A Brisbane cafe has underpaid dozens of international students almost $120,000, an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman has found.
Fair Work inspectors discovered that 41 staff – all but one of them foreign students - were underpaid their minimum hourly rate and penalty rates over a three year period.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has not ruled out legal action against the employer.
Queensland state director Julie Wade says that almost half of the money is being held in trust because the employer has been unable to locate all its former staff.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has a search engine on its website – www.fairwork.gov.au – to assist employees who think they may have been underpaid in a previous job.
Ms Wade said the case was a good example of why Fair Work inspectors were taking part in O-week activities around Australia.
The Fair Work Ombudsman will visit students at the Queensland University of Technology (Gardens Point campus) today and the James Cook University (Cairns) on tomorrow.
Ms Wade says knowledge is the best defence for young workers against being unwittingly taken advantage of and Fair Work inspectors are keen to explain to students, especially international students, how they can find out more about their workplace rights.
Workers who are concerned they are not receiving their full entitlements can contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 between 8am and 6pm weekdays.
Students can also visit www.fairwork.gov.au/youngworkers
The Fair Work Ombudsman promotes harmonious, productive and co-operative workplaces. It also monitors compliance with and investigates breaches of national workplace laws.
Craig Bildstien, Director Media & Stakeholder Relations,
0419 818 484
Ryan Pedler, Media & Stakeholder Relations Senior Adviser
(03) 9954 2561, 0434 365 924