Two restaurants reimburse underpaid cooks almost $10,000

11 March 2010

Two cooks at two separate restaurants at Campbelltown in NSW have been reimbursed almost $10,000 after investigations by the Fair Work Ombudsman found they were being underpaid.

The first cook lodged a complaint with the Fair Work Ombudsman when he was not paid penalty rates or overtime.

After inspectors contacted the restaurant, the employee was reimbursed $6400 without the need for further action.

In a separate and unrelated case, a second Campbelltown cook has been back-paid more than $3200 after claiming she was not paid for all hours worked.

The employer disputed the worker’s claim, but after Fair Work inspectors assisted her to lodge a claim through the Small Claims Tribunal, she has been repaid all money owed.

Fair Work Ombudsman NSW Director Mark Davidson says the underpayments were the result of a lack of understanding by the employers of their legal obligations, including pay rates.

"That's why the Fair Work Ombudsman places such a strong focus on educating and assisting employers to understand and comply with workplace laws," he said.

"We have a flexible, fair approach and our preference is always to work with employers to help them voluntarily rectify any non-compliance issues we identify."

The Fair Work Ombudsman can help employers and workers to understand their rights and obligations under new National Employment Standards and Modern Awards, which took effect on January 1.

Mr Davidson says there is a range of user-friendly resources on the Fair Work website to assist employers and operate their workplace at best practice.

A suite of 11 Best Practice Guides have been developed to assist employers make better use of the provisions of the Fair Work Act and better understand other aspects of workplace laws.

The guides cover work and family, consultation and co-operation, individual flexibility arrangements, employing young workers, gender pay equity, small business, workplace privacy, managing underperformance, effective dispute resolution and improving workplace productivity.

Employers or employees seeking advice or assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit www.fwo.gov.au. For translations call 13 14 50.

Media inquiries:

Ryan Pedler, Media & Stakeholder Relations Senior Adviser
(03) 9954 2561, 0434 365 924
ryan.pedler@fwo.gov.au

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