Wage watchdog savage, new franchisor laws
CAFÉ’S, restaurants and takeaway food outlets breaching minimum wage and penalty-rate compliance remain firmly in the sights of authorities, and recent law changes mean franchisors can now be held liable for their networks.
The latest business in breach, risking customer backlash, is the franchise-model Degani Bakery and Café with 80 outlets.
Following a Fair Work Ombudsman audit of 14 Degani outlets in Melbourne and two in Rockhampton (Qld) just one was found to be compliant with workplace laws, the ombudsman said this week.
The audits resulted in the FWO recovering $44,000 for 86 underpaid workers and issuing:
- 10 formal cautions;
- 8 compliance notices; and
- 5 infringement notices (on-the-spot fines).
Of the 15 stores found to be non-compliant:
- 8 were non-compliant with record-keeping
- 9 were non-compliant with weekend and public holiday penalty rates
- 8 were non-compliant with base rate of pay
- 1 provided false or misleading records
- 1 failed to comply with a Notice to Produce records.
In February, the FWO commenced court action against a Degani outlet in Greensborough (Vic) for allegedly using false records to conceal more than $12,000 in underpayments to workers. The matter remains before the court with a hearing scheduled for 1 October 2018.
The report is available at www.fairwork.gov.au
Penalty rates problem
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said under or non-payment of penalty rates was the most common issue identified by inspectors, as well as underpayment of base rates of pay.
“We uncovered issues with record-keeping at several Degani outlets that hindered our ability to determine exactly how much back-pay the employees were owed,” Ms Parker said.
“Unfortunately, Degani’s failure to meet basic workplace requirements is common throughout the hospitality industry.”
One in ten disputes resolved by FWO in 2016-17 involved a restaurant, café or takeaway food outlet, and nearly one third of the most serious cases that we take to court involve this sector.
“Recent law changes mean franchisors can now be held liable for workplace breaches by businesses in their networks. This report reinforces the need for industry-wide cultural change and hospitality leaders should work with the FWO to support compliance,” Ms Parker said.
Also in Australian Food News
- Brave meat sniffers aid research
- Why Wesfarmers is cutting Coles loose 3.0
- Organic, grass fed and hormone-free, does this make red meat any healthier?
Degani Australia CEO Darren Lane said the company has been co-operating with the FWO since the underpayment issue was first brought to its attention in 2016.
“Since that time, Degani Australia has undertaken a number of steps to minimise the opportunity for underpayment to occur again,” Mr Lane said.
“Degani is working closely with store owners to ensure they meet their obligations for all aspects of their business, including Fair Work obligations.”
Mr Lane said the company is deeply concerned about the issue of staff underpayment across the café industry.
“Degani Australia is committed to protecting the rights of vulnerable workers and recognises its responsibility to have systems in place to ensure accurate recording of working hours and payment of award rates,” Mr Lane said.
Insanely proud of the blood, sweat and tears put into creating this evening of fine food and wine for some of Melbourne's most influential palettes. Our Mediterranean inspired menu for @deganizetland is by far our most innovative to date. Check out the full vid via our YouTube channel 🎥 shoutout to the best chef in the world @richchef_ for absolutely smashing it as usual 🤙🏽
Posted by Degani Australia on Monday, 9 January 2017
Children from regional and remote Australia are not eating nearly as many vegetables as they need, r...
The following article has been originally published by Wine Australia - Market Bulletin | Issue 179...
Two New Exciting Flavours Added to Range Launching Oat Flour and Tigernut Flour, McKenzie’s is lead...
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has today released its Plain English Allergen Labelling...
THE decline of alcoholic drinks continues as new non-alcoholic beverage products dare to tread in th...
Promotion and sales of pork has paid off in increased Australian retail sales of the meat Nielsen re...
Murray Goulburn will cut 70 jobs across its Victorian factories.
Controversy still surrounds the introduction of the ‘effects test’ with Labor’s Andrew Leigh critici...