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Australia – Melbourne cafe underpaid casual staff more than $25,000

22 May 2019

The operator of a Melbourne café has entered into a court-enforceable undertaking after the Fair Work Ombudsman found it had underpaid 32 casual workers a total of AUD 37,520 (approximately USD 25,800).

Fair Work Inspectors found that Super Max Coffee Pty Ltd, trading as Mitte Café in Fitzroy North in Melbourne, failed to pay workers minimum casual loadings, which is defined as a higher pay rate than equivalent full-time or part-time employees due to casual employees not being entitled to benefits such as sick or annual leave. Furthermore, the café failed to pay overtime rates and penalty rates for weekends and public holidays under the Restaurant Industry Award.

The casual workers were engaged serving customers, and as cooks and kitchen attendants during the underpayment period between July 2017 and June 2018.

A 21-year-old worker was underpaid AUD 3,582 (USD 2,468) after being paid hourly rates of AUD 23 (USD 15.85) on weekends when entitled to AUD 28.22 (USD 19.44), and AUD 31.50 (USD 21.71) on public holidays despite being owed AUD 47.03 (USD 32.41).

Under the court-enforceable undertaking, Super Max Coffee must promptly pay pack the underpaid amount, and also make a donation to the Commonwealth government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund. The company must also provide an apology letter to all underpaid workers, display a workplace notice outlining the breaches, and publish the notice on its Facebook page.

The company is also required to engage an external professional to complete two audits of the pay and conditions of all employees in 2019 and 2020, rectify any underpayments found, commission workplace relations training for managers and demonstrate how it is complying with the Fair Work Act.

The Fair Work Ombudsman said the café and director George Younan have committed to a range of measures to improve their compliance with workplace laws.

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