Asian employers in Australia breaking law on regular basis

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Asian employers in Australia breaking law on regular basis


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Old 02-05-2011, 07:59 PM
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Asian employers in Australia breaking law on regular basis

Finally, there is an article about it

Sydney Morning Herald:

Quote:
A LEADING sushi restaurant chain has admitted it paid some foreign staff as little as $9 an hour, in what workplace experts warn is the tip of a ''massive black economy'' in Australia's hospitality industry.

Following claims that restaurants in the Sushi Train and Sushi Samurai franchise were heavily undercutting wages, The Sun-Herald spoke to more than a dozen foreigners on working holiday and student visas who were earning less than half the minimum wage at other city restaurants.

Some reported being paid $8 an hour in cash at Chinese, Korean, Thai and Indian restaurants. Experts say the practice is most prevalent in tourist areas, but it undercuts wages for workers everywhere and rips off taxpayers.

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Japanese staff at the Sushi Train and Sushi Samurai restaurants, run by Excellent Group Pty Ltd, told The Sun-Herald they were earning $9 an hour in cash for casual shifts.

A full-time adult employee is entitled to at least $15 an hour, before tax. But for adult casual wait staff employed in NSW under the Restaurant Industry Award 2010, the minimum hourly rate ranges from $19.01 to $20.26 an hour, the Fair Work Ombudsman said.

After being contacted about the claims of underpayment, Excellent Group director Arioki Kondo conceded the company had ''mistakenly'' been paying the incorrect rate to some staff at its six restaurants and takeaway shops in Neutral Bay, Pyrmont and Darlinghurst. Mr Kondo said, through a spokesman, that ''there was indeed a misunderstanding with some of the managers at the restaurants, and now we've had a meeting and revised the payment structure.

''The problem did affect quite a few people'', all of whom would receive compensation.

Many of the workers spoken to by The Sun-Herald said they had no option but to take the poorly paid work because there was little else available to people in their situation.

Sapna Sharma, 24, who recently returned to India after studying in Sydney, said she was paid nothing for her training shift at a well-regarded Indian restaurant in Glebe, and then accepted $11 an hour in cash for casual shifts ''because no one else would give international students a job''.

In the past financial year, the Fair Work Ombudsman resolved 20,070 complaints and recouped more than $26.1 million for 16,088 underpaid workers nationally, including $7.65 million for 4718 NSW workers.

Thousands more who are ignorant of workplace law continue to be cheated by rogue businesses, said Marian Baird, an expert in industrial relations at Sydney University.

Research published by Monash University and the University of Melbourne in 2008 found 60 per cent of international students were working below the minimum wage.

''Cash economies, specifically hospitality restaurant areas, … are places where it's endemic,'' she said. ''It's a massive black economy that has implications for everyone, not just the foreigners.

''The employers are undercutting wages for all workers and they're not contributing a huge amount in taxes … [or] superannuation.''
Until I married my wife (Chinese) I never knew... Asian employers (not only hospitality as the article suggest) practically never give their employers legal employment and always less than the law enforces. $10 an hour is considered good pay from a Chinese, usually it is about $7 - $8 per hour. If you see a small shop run by Chinese you might practically assume that workers are paid by cash and less than $15 an hour.

The question is - what is government going to do about it and what can be done. In my opinion there should be a regular checks on small business (not only Asian) and their practices. Checking employment details, bank transfers, superannuation payments... Apparently, this would bring additional costs and may not necessarily pay off.

What do you think?


Last edited by Dexter; 02-06-2011 at 03:22 AM.

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Old 02-06-2011, 01:46 PM
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As well as the Fair Work Ombudsman looking at complaints, the ATO is always on the look out for black market employment activities but they only have so many people and already basically have a policy of self lodgement and lodgee responsibility.
It is not just Asian employers either and with employers prepared to keep two sets of books and have payments unrecorded you would really need taxation police/spotters out there doing regular checks.
Perhaps Sushi people can expect a freight train of investigators and if there were tougher laws for defaulters, like not able to run a business for ten years, some people may take notice but then they could probably put the business in the name of another family member so maybe threat of deportation for non citizens could get a bit of notice.

There are probably a lot of casuals happy to take $10/h in cash so as not to be concerned re tax or perhaps they are even working on a tourist visa or have overstayed.





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Old 02-09-2011, 06:25 PM
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I found this very interesting. Being from a country that's had a lot of problems with the same thing (US), I think the hardest part with this is there's little incentive to play by the rules. I don't know if that means stricter punishments or better oversight, but clearly there's a break in the system that should be addressed.


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Old 02-09-2011, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post

There are probably a lot of casuals happy to take $10/h in cash so as not to be concerned re tax or perhaps they are even working on a tourist visa or have overstayed.
This.

I'd also like to add that international students wont mind(or dont have a choice) getting paid a lot less as they work longer than the 20hour/week limit as per student visa rules and regulations.

Employers would obviously make full use of this loophole for the desperate students.


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Old 02-20-2011, 06:47 AM
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This was all-ways the case.
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Old 04-07-2011, 07:21 AM
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I am just realising this too as I now have a little bit more to do with the Chinese community as my wife is Chinese and will be here in early May. I am studying Mandarin and my teacher works for a company just down the road from where I work. She is being forced to work overtime unpaid, being called on her private number to come in for work early and being paid a very low wage. She is genuinely frightened to say anything as she thinks they will put out into the community that she is a "trouble-maker" if she says anything. I feel embarrassed that employers can get away with treating people like this and bully their employees into working for peanuts.

I will be making sure my wife will not be treated like this. She has no trouble though standing up for what she believes in though


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Old 04-07-2011, 08:53 PM
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If your wife goes to an Asian employer (I mean - small business) then she can expect just that. For a new immigrant it is difficult to work somewhere else than for small business.


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Old 04-08-2011, 11:24 AM
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Yeah, it's not just Asians. I worked on Lygon St. in an Italian restaurant run by Lebanese. The boss only hired Asian women, with me being the exception. I'm an American and they thought I had Arab ancestry. $14 an hour. They found out I wasn't an Arab and I mysteriously was told, "We'll call you when we want you to come in again."

I complained to FWO and I encourage anyone working under similar conditions to do the same.


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Old 04-10-2011, 07:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spindoctor View Post
This.

I'd also like to add that international students wont mind(or dont have a choice) getting paid a lot less as they work longer than the 20hour/week limit as per student visa rules and regulations.

Employers would obviously make full use of this loophole for the desperate students.
It is a very bad cycle. The student gets paid just half of the minimum wages, but works 40 hours. The end earning is same for the student, but they are risking to be deported because of overworking the 20 hours per week.

Some of our student were in a same situation and they did not want to lose their job as they got lots of hours. We helped them to find another job and they are not just earning more, but also having more time to study and relax.


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Old 04-10-2011, 07:31 AM
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It is interesting nobody have mentioned the full time, Australian, hospitality workers. They can easily end up with a contract for 40-50 hours and the overtime is not paid, even they are working 60-80 hours occasionally. Make a quick calculation and you will recognize, the Restaurant and Catering Award rate is so far from reality.


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