G & Z United, a former Subway franchisee, has paid $65,438 in penalties in Court for underpaying a Chinese worker at two Subway outlets in Sydney, according to Australian independent statutory agency Fair Work Ombudsman.
The Federal Circuit Court has asked the company to pay $56,183 and its owner Danmin Zhang $9,255 in penalties.
Fair Work inspectors investigated the issue after the worker lodged a request for assistance and identified that she had been underpaid a total of $16,345 for work performed across two stores operated by the company in Artarmon and Stanmore.
The company paid the worker, who served as a casual food and beverage attendant, unlawful flat rates of $14 to $14.50 per hour between October 2014 and April 2016. The worker was back-paid in full in 2017.
The worker was underpaid her minimum hourly rates for ordinary hours, casual loadings and penalty rates for evening, weekend and public holiday work.
As per the ruling, she was entitled to receive minimum rates of more than $18, plus casual loading, for ordinary hours, and penalty rates of up to $52.22 on public holidays under the Fast Food Industry Award 2010.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said: “It is unlawful for employers to pay their employees low, flat rates that undercut minimum Award wage rates.
“This franchisee paid their worker a flat rate that was $4 below the lawful rate, and now faces paying a $65,000 penalty from the Court.
“The penalty should send a message to fast food businesses that compliance in the workplace is not an option – it’s the law. Every worker in Australia has the same workplace rights and we encourage anyone with concerns to contact the Fair Work Ombudsman.”
G & Z United is currently not operating the Subway outlets at Artarmon and Stanmore.