Three PappaRich restaurants in Sydney have been fined $307,802 for underpaying 154 workers a total of $74,000.
The Federal Circuit Court issued $34,425 in penalties against Loke Cheng Wong, manager-operator of the PappaRich franchise outlet at Macquarie Park, and former manager-operator of PappaRich franchise outlets in Chatswood and on Liverpool Street in the Sydney CBD.
Mr Wong is a director and part-owner of two companies PPR Ryde (NSW) Pty Ltd and Gateharvest Pty Ltd which were penalised a further $273,377.
The Federal Circuit Court heard that PappaRich employees were paid flat rates as low as $13 to $14.50 per hour in 2017, resulting in an underpayment of their ordinary hourly rates, penalty rates and other loadings.
The Fair Work Ombudsman discovered the underpaid workers, including migrants on student and working holiday visas, during surprise raids.
“The evidence establishes that he was aware of the existence of an award and did not make further enquiries until the details of the award, and the consequential underpayments, were brought to his attention,” Judge Driver said.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said inspectors discovered the PappaRich underpayments during surprise audits.
“This penalty should serve as a warning to employers who choose to pay migrant workers unlawfully
low flat rates rather than the applicable minimum award,” she said.
“All employees have the same rights under Australia’s workplace laws, regardless of visa status, and any migrant workers with concerns about their pay should contact us.”