A Brisbane café has been penalised $140,000 for paying workers with food and drink.
Café 63 Chermside paid 11 employees part of their wages in food and drink during two periods between August 2017 and January 2018.
Café penalised for paying workers with food and drink
The Federal Circuit Court penalised Timi Trading Pty Ltd, which operated the café at Westfield Chermside shopping centre, $95,000.
In addition, the court imposed a $20,000 penalty on both company director and manager Tien Hoang Le and company manager Minh Vo Duy Nguyen.
Finally, the court imposed a $4,800 penalty on Hamish Watson, the owner of the Café 63 brand, for his involvement in one contravention by the company.
Individual Flexibility Agreements
Fair Work commenced an investigation following complaints from workers about underpayments.
Most of the affected staff worked as cooks, kitchen attendants and food and beverage attendants.
The café paid eight of the 11 employees according to Individual Flexibility Agreements (IFAs).
The IFAs provided for flat hourly rates and a list of ‘bonuses’ and ‘allowances’ – instead of penalty rates and overtime.
The ‘allowances’ included food and drink up to the value of $42 a day when working, including $20 in meals, $7 in desserts and $15 in drinks.
Timi Trading also breached workplace laws by providing the FWO with false and misleading records, failing to make and keep proper records and failing to enter into written part-time agreements.
“WORKERS ALLEGEDLY PAID WITH FOOD AND DRINK AT BRISBANE CAFE”
Workers must be paid with money
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan says workers must be paid in money.
“The Fair Work Act is clear – it is illegal to pay employees in anything other than money,” he said.
“You can give your employees all the food and drink you want, but that is not lawful pay, and you’ll face hefty penalties if you do it.”
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