How to Stop Wage Theft – An Interesting Case Study
It’s been a while since our last post. Recently, one of our new clients had an interesting email from a disgruntled ex-employee. Below is an excerpt from the email the staff sent.
I acknowledge it has been a while since I last worked or have been on the books. I wanted to touch base to clarify a few things after reflecting back on my time at XXX.
I have checked the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website, and have been in contact with them twice for advice regarding my pay. My job is covered by the Restaurant Industry Award [MA000119]. Under the Award, I have been informed my duties come under the Casual ‘Level 2 – food and beverage attendant grade 2′ classification. The Award pay rate for a food and beverage attendant grade 2 with my level of experience between July 2019 to 1st of February 2021 was $26.03p/h on weekdays, $31.23 on Saturday/Sundays and 52.05p/h on public holidays. My rate was only $18p/h on weekdays, $20p/h on weekends and $30 on public holidays.
I have applied both these pay rates in accordance with the award rate of the time and I have calculated that I am owed $8642.09 in back-pay from the 30/12/19, the week I commenced being paid on the books.
Additionally I found that the rate on my payslips was inconsistent with the rate I was being paid weekly. On the majority of my pay slips it stated I earned $20 per hour, which was not the case on weekdays or public holidays. I’m happy to discuss this further to clarify the details.
I have attached to this letter the following documents that show how I have calculated this:
• a pay slip showing my current pay rate
• the current pay rate for a food and beverage attendant grade 2 that I obtained from www.fairwork.gov.au<http://www.fairwork.gov.au> (highlighted on Page 7, though this rate has increased further since Nov 2021).
• An excel spreadsheet of my back-pay calculations.
I request that you please back-pay the amount owed as soon as practical and hear back from you in the next 2 weeks. I will continue to seek further assistance from Fairwork if required.
It is important to note that this client was managed by another bookkeeper during the time this employee worked. If the bookkeeper had informed the client about the correct rate and penalties, the client wouldn’t find themselves in a position where they now owe over $8k to the staff.
Secondly, we need to understand that $18 and $20 rates are not going to help businesses save on wage costs. Instead, they find themselves vulnerable to being taken to Fairwork by employees who are well aware about their entitlements.
The only way to build a profitable venue is by ensuring compliance with hospo laws & regulations, including Fairwork. Messing with laws, especially staff, is a highly risky proposition.