Operator of café and recycling business penalised

The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a total of $24,508.80 in penalties in court against a company that operates a café and a recycling business in Melbourne.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court has imposed a $22,644 penalty against Manne’s Role Pty Ltd, which operates cardboard-recycling business ‘Marlen’s Warehouse’ and the associated ‘Little Cardboard Café’ at a site on Pascoe Vale Road, in Essendon.

In addition, the Court has imposed a $1864.80 penalty against the company’s sole director Malin Subodha Hettiarachchi.

The penalty was imposed in response to Manne’s Role Pty Ltd failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring it to back-pay entitlements to an international student it employed at the café and contravening pay slip laws. Mr Hettiarachchi was involved in the failure to comply with the Compliance Notice.

The company back-paid the worker $4,473.97, plus superannuation, after the Fair Work Ombudsman commenced legal action.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell said business operators that fail to act on Compliance Notices need to be aware they can face court-imposed penalties on top of having to back-pay workers.

“When Compliance Notices are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive their lawful entitlements,” Mr Campbell said.

“Employers also need to be aware that taking action to improve compliance in the fast food, restaurant and café sector continues to be a priority for the FWO. Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance.”

The FWO commenced an investigation after receiving a request for assistance from the affected worker, who was employed by Manne’s Role Pty Ltd on a casual basis as a cook at Little Cardboard Café between 25 December 2020 and 27 February 2021.

The Compliance Notice was issued in May 2021 after an inspector formed a belief the worker was paid a flat rate of $15 an hour, resulting in underpayment of his minimum wage, casual loading and weekend penalty rates under the Restaurant Industry Award 2020.

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