Following a full audit by the Fair Work Ombudsman, Sajid Amin, who runs and part-owns the Degani outlet at Greensborough, has been penalised $23,562 in the Federal Circuit Court.
A company Mr Amin is a director of, SHMAP Group Pty Ltd, has been penalised a further $117,810. SHMAP Group held a franchise agreement for the Greensborough outlet with Degani Bakery Café Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Degani Australia Pty Ltd.
Mr Amin and SHMAP Group admitted in court that they underpaid 15 employees at the Greensborough Degani outlet a total of $12,506.
The Greensborough Degani employees were underpaid their minimum hourly rates, penalty rates and other entitlements over a nine-week period in 2016 as a result of being paid flat rates as low as $12 an hour. They have been back-paid in full.
The court found Mr Amin and SHMAP Group also breached workplace laws by failing to issue pay slips and providing Fair Work inspectors with false records during the investigation.
In August last year, the FWO had discovered issues with record-keeping at several Degani outlets, leading to audit activity that found non-compliance at 15 outlets.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the penalty imposed by the court highlights that underpayment of vulnerable workers will not be tolerated.
“The conduct in this case was further aggravated with the employer hampering our investigation by providing inspectors with falsified records. We will take enforcement action against any business that deliberately contravenes Australia’s workplace laws,” Ms Parker said.
Record-keeping and pay slip breaches have been high on the FWO’s hit list, most recently dropping in unannounced on popular dining strips in the Melbourne CBD.
In 2018, the FWO recovered $471,904 for 616 workers on the East Coast, after finding that 72 per cent of the 243 businesses audited had breached workplace laws, including a lack of employment records and payslips.
“Businesses should be warned that non-compliance can lead to action ranging from formal cautions and on-the-spot fines to litigation for the most serious breaches,” Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said last year.
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Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.