TWO Indian cooks were back-paid a total of $14,000 after an investigation found they had been underpaid, and not paid entitlements.
The cooks spoke limited English and were in Australia on working visas.
The Fair Work Ombudsman found the duo had been underpaid their minimum hourly rates, overtime rates and weekend penalty rates in 2011 and 2012, as well as their annual leave entitlements upon termination of employment.
The problem was investigated by Fair Work inspectors from the Fair Work Ombudsman’s overseas workers team after the workers complained.
Inspectors issued the restaurant owners with compliance notices requiring them to rectify the underpayments and the workers were back-paid just over $7000 each.
Employers are required to either comply with the notices issued by Fair Work inspectors, or make a court application for a review.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the underpayments happened because the business operators were not aware of their obligations under the restaurant industry award.
“Employers must ensure they are aware of the minimum pay rates and entitlements that apply to their employees and that their business is fully compliant with workplace laws,” she said.
“While it was disappointing to find these contraventions, it was pleasing to see the restaurant operator comply with the compliance notices without the need for further action.”
Ms James said foreign workers could be vulnerable because they could be reluctant to complain, and might not be aware of their workplace rights.
Another Indian cook, who worked at a restaurant in Bathurst, was also found to have been underpaid, and was repaid just over $7000.