A payroll officer for a famous dumpling restaurant chain said they were instructed by managers to make a fake payroll to hide staff being underpaid, a court has heard.
Din Tai Fung is facing accusations in Federal Court of underpaying 17 staff a total of $157,000 for work in its Sydney outlets at Chatswood and World Square as well as its Emporium Melbourne store.
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s barrister Victoria Brigden told the court the payroll officer, who worked for the company between 2016 and 2018, admitted they were told to create two payrolls.
One payroll would show an accurate record of staff working hours and pay while a fake one would mark staff as working less hours at a higher pay rate, the court heard.
The company reportedly focused on underpaying young migrant workers and used cash payment incentives to keep them quiet.
‘We say it was to deceive authorities,’ Ms Brigden told the court.
‘Either the FWO in investigating underpayments and compliance with the Fair Work Act or immigration authorities regarding hours worked by people holding visas, as there are strict conditions on that. Possibly there is a tax element also.’
A payroll staffer who worked for Din Tai Fung between 2016 and 2018 said they were told to keep a real and a fake record of staff hours and pay rate.
The court heard the cash incentives still did not accumulate to the workers being paid minimum wage.
Ms Brigden gave a box containing her evidence to the court and said her claims were ‘frankly, not directly challenged’.
Din Tai Fung is famous around the world for its dumplings, with one restaurant in Hong Kong awarded a Michelin star in 2010.
It has opened 10 restaurant venues in Sydney and Melbourne since 2008.