More than $20,000 owed to Swansea cafe workers

An East Coast cafe will be forced to fork out more than $20,000 after five of its employees were underpaid.

The Fair Work Ombudsman found four waiters and a chef at Saltshaker Café and Restaurant in Swansea had not been paid their entitlements over a 10 month period in 2014-15.

A total of $20,242 was left outstanding with individuals owed between $3341 and $4929.

An audit by the Ombudsman revealed the cafe had not taken penalty rates into account during the peak tourist season and had paid employees flat hourly rates.

During the period of underpayment, the waiters were paid an hourly rate of $22.90 while the chef received $26.50 per hour.

Under the Restaurant Industry Award, however, they were entitled to rates of up to $27.71 on weekends, up to $36.94 for overtime hours and more than $46 on public holidays.

Fair Work Ombudsman spokeswoman Natalie James said employers not paying entitlements was “not acceptable” and had become an ongoing issue in the hospitality industry. 

“This restaurant has avoided facing legal action by fully co-operating with our investigation and agreeing to rectify all underpayments … but it has been put on notice of the need to comply in future,” Ms James said.

“Saltshaker Café and Restaurant has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) with the Fair Work Ombudsman aimed at encouraging behavioural change and future compliance.”

Saltshaker Café and Restaurant was unavailable for comment.

Employers seeking advice and assistance about their workplace obligations can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.

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