A recent audit of 15 Degani Bakery and Cafe outlets has uncovered widespread wage theft with 14 found to be ripping off workers and not keeping proper records.
As a result of the audits by the Fair Work Ombudsman, 86 workers were back paid a total of $44,165.
The FWO issued 10 formal cautions, 8 compliance notices and 5 infringement notices (on the spot fines) to the 14 Degani operators.
Separately, the FWO is taking legal action against a Degani outlet in Greensborough in Melbourne for using false records to conceal more than $12,000 in underpayments to workers.
That matter is due in court in October.
Last year, the FWO entered into an agreement with the operators of another Degani outlet in Mornington Victoria who underpaid workers almost $10,000 to repay the workers and overhaul their workplace practices.
Hospitality industry rife with wage theft
Industrial relations advocate Miles Heffernan from WAGETHEFT.net.au said the hospitality industry is rife with wage theft.
“It’s estimated that one in two hospo worker is being illegally paid, which is just outrageous,” he said.
“Although this audit, while good news for the Degani workers, is really just the tip of the iceberg as far as tackling the problem of wage theft that is happening across the country.
“We are talking about tens of thousands of hard working Australians being underpaid every single day.”
Mr Heffernan recently submitted an extensive submission to the Queensland wage theft inquiry on behalf of his company, Industrial Relations Claims, in which he called for wage theft to be criminalised, and for the process to recover stolen wages to be made easier for workers.
“Currently to try and recover what they are owed, workers have to lodge claims in the Federal Circuit Court or Federal Court which is expensive and can take up to two years,” he said.
“Here in Queensland, we believe that with some tweeting of legislation, wage theft cases could be heard by a local Industrial Magistrate, which would make claims quicker and easier for workers.”
The inquiry is due to make its recommendations to the government in November.
If you have not received your proper wages and entitlements, or are considering legal action to recover stolen wages, we can help.
Please call our specialist team at WAGETHEFT.net.au on
1300 1 THEFT (1300 184 338)
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