The Australian arm of a Japanese burger chain has back-paid $1.12 million to 285 former and current Queensland workers and will face ongoing scrutiny of its workplace practices.
MOS Burger Australia Pty Ltd has entered into a Court-Enforceable Undertaking after a Fair Work Ombudsman investigation found contraventions of the Fast Food Industry Award 2010.
The 285 workers were underpaid across the company’s six stores in Brisbane, Surfers Paradise, Southport, Broadbeach, Mt Gravatt and Sunnybank between 2011 and 2018.
Fair Work Inspectors found that the company had paid unlawfully low flat rates to workers, and misclassified some employees as part-time when they were in fact casuals.
Breaches of workplace laws included failures to pay ordinary hourly rates, casual loadings, and penalty rates for night, weekend and public holiday hours.
Affected workers were employed by MOS Burger to make food, serve customers, and as store supervisors and managers. Many of them were visa holders and young workers.
Individual underpayments ranged from $18 to $31,975. The company has rectified all unpaid wages and superannuation, and paid an additional seven per cent compensation to workers.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker highlighted the company’s prompt action to resolve this matter.
“We considered that a Court-Enforceable Undertaking was an appropriate enforcement tool as the company conducted a comprehensive audit of its pay records from when it commenced trading in Australia, fully back-paid workers and overhauled its processes to comply with workplace laws.”
“Court-Enforceable Undertakings are serious instruments with extensive commitments from companies. We will monitor compliance with each commitment and won’t hesitate to take court action if they are not upheld. This matter is a warning to all employers that if they don’t get workplace compliance right from the beginning they can be left with extensive and expensive consequences.”
“The Fair Work Ombudsman is cracking down on underpayments in the Fast Food, Restaurant and Café sector, and any employees with concerns about their pay should contact us,” Ms Parker said.
Under the Enforceable Undertaking, MOS Burgers Australia must fund external auditors to check pay and conditions for workers employed in 2019 and 2020, and rectify any underpayments.
The company must also register with the My Account portal and ensure all senior managers and human resources, recruitment and payroll staff complete training on workplace laws.
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The FWO has developed new interactive tools for the fast food, restaurant and café sector to make it easier to access information about key workplace entitlements.