A Melbourne fast food restaurant has been officially cautioned by the Fair Work Ombudsman after a random audit discovered a range of unlawful deductions were being taken from staff wages.
The FWO found the Doncaster business had been taking slices from wages in an effort to be stricter on staff members. Employees saw pay deductions if cash registers came up short, if they accepted cash notes that were torn or badly damaged, and for breakages.
Apart from deductions, the business was found to also be underpaying hourly and penalty rates, as well as overtime on weekend shifts. The FWO said employees were being paid a flat rate of $17 an hour, instead of as much as $25.17 on weekends.
“As a rule of thumb, deductions from wages are generally unlawful if they are not authorised by the employee in accordance with workplace law and are not principally for the benefit of the employees,” Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said.
“Deducting money from employee wages as a punishment, or as some sort of performance management tool, is completely unlawful.”
Ms James said deductions were not “a constructive way” of pushing employees to improve work performance and said it was clear the business was the only one benefiting from deductions.
Almost $9,000 in reimbursements is required for 12 current and former employees. The Doncaster restaurant will now be monitored to ensure it stays compliant with workplace laws.