Fremantle restaurant faces hefty bill after short-changing staff wages

16 July 2015

A Fremantle restaurant has ended up with a hefty bill for back-payment of wages after it was found to be short-changing its waiting staff.

Nineteen workers were underpaid almost $20,000 over 12 months, inquiries by the Fair Work Ombudsman have revealed.

The business was underpaying its employees their casual hourly rates, weekend and early-morning penalty rates.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the employer has co-operated with her Agency and willingly rectified the mistake.

The restaurant has also worked with Fair Work inspectors to ensure it meets its obligations under workplace laws in the future.

Ms James says the finding illustrates that even a small wage error left over time can result in a major expense for a business that it was probably not budgeting for.

“It highlights the importance of employers knowing exactly what wages and conditions apply to their workplace and keeping up to date,” she said.

The matter is one of a number finalised by the Fair Work Ombudsman in and around Perth recently, including:

  • $17,500 for an administrative assistant at a Malaga business who failed to receive her redundancy entitlements on termination,
  • $16,800 for 20 cleaners at a Warwick business not paid for some hours worked and underpaid their broken shift allowances, overtime, weekend, late-night, morning and evening penalty rates,
  • $10,500 for two young shop assistants at a Midland retail store underpaid their minimum hourly rates and weekend penalty rates, and
  • $6700 for a paramedic employed by a Subiaco business for unpaid wages and annual leave entitlements on termination.

Ms James says all employers co-operated and reimbursed their staff without the need for the Fair Work Ombudsman to take enforcement action.

She urged employers unsure of their obligations to visit or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50

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Nicci de Ryk, Senior Media Adviser
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