A popular burger chain has back-paid $1.12 million to workers who it underpaid to avoid court action.
The Fair Work Ombudsman offered an Enforceable Undertaking to the employer, and as a result it won’t face court-imposed penalties.
Burger chain back pays workers
MOS Burger admitted underpaying 285 workers across six Queensland stores between 2011 and 2018.
The workers made food, served customers, in addition to acting as store supervisors and managers at outlets in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast.
Fair Work inspectors found the company paid unlawful flat rates to workers in addition to mis-classifying casuals as part-timers.
As a result, the workers missed out on:
- ordinary hourly rates,
- casual loadings,
- and penalty rates for night, weekend and public holiday hours.
Consequently, individual underpayments ranged from $18 to $31,975.
Workers have been back-paid in full
Fair Work says the company has rectified all unpaid wages and superannuation, and paid an additional 7 percent compensation to workers.
Under the terms of the Enforceable Undertaking, MOS Burgers must fund external auditors to check workers’ wages and rectify any underpayments.
Cosy agreements ‘let dodgy bosses off the hook’
However, industrial advocate Miles Heffernan criticised the use of Enforceable Undertakings, saying they “let dodgy bosses off the hook”.
“These cost agreements allow employers to pay back what they owe, and promise not to do it again, to escape court action,” he said.
“Consequently, they miss out on the huge penalties that go with that.
“In this case, the company ripped off their workers by more than $1 million, and Fair Work has let them get away with it.”
Ombudsman defends use of Enforceable Undertakings
Despite this, Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker defended the use of Enforceable Undertakings.
“We considered that a Court-Enforceable Undertaking was an appropriate enforcement tool as the company conducted a comprehensive audit of its pay records from when it commenced trading in Australia, fully back-paid workers and overhauled its processes to comply with workplace laws.”
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