More overseas workers found to have been underpaid while working in Australia

by Ray Clancy on March 2, 2018

in Australia

Overseas workers have been found to have been underpaid while working in a café in Melbourne as officials warn again of employers taking advantage of those who do not know the minimum guidelines.

The operator of a Degani café in the North East of the city is facing Court after he allegedly used false records to conceal more than $12,000 in underpayments of staff, including teenagers and overseas workers.

(Wavebreak Media Ltd/Bigstock.com)

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action in the Federal Circuit Court against Greenvale man Sajid Amin, who manages and part-owns the Degani outlet at Greensborough.

It is alleged that Amin and the SHMAP Group, of which he is a director, underpaid 15 employees a total of $12,506 over a period of nine weeks between September and November 2016. They included four teenagers, with one aged just 15, and two adult overseas workers from China and Malaysia.

The Fair Work Ombudsman discovered the alleged underpayments during a proactive audit activity involving 14 Degani branded cafes in and around Melbourne and two at Rockhampton, in Queensland.

The audits focused on cafes operated under franchisee or licensee arrangements and checked whether workers were being paid their lawful minimum entitlements. All underpayments have now been back-paid in full.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said that the serious nature of the alleged contraventions and the involvement of vulnerable workers were important factors in the decision to commence legal action.

‘Allegations that young workers and migrant workers were underpaid are particularly serious, especially when coupled with claims that some were asked to participate in the falsification of records to conceal these unlawfully low rates,’ she pointed out.

‘We know that younger workers and workers from overseas backgrounds may be more reluctant to speak up if they think something is wrong. This is why we are targeting employers who seek to take advantage of these vulnerabilities,’ she added.

SHMAP Group Pty Ltd faces maximum penalties of up to $54,000 per contravention and Amin faces maximum penalties of up to $10,800 per contravention.

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