The ongoing woes of George Calombaris

Aside from defending himself in Court last week for an altercation at a football game, celebrity chef and restaurateur, George Calombaris, continues to deal with the issue of widespread underpayments to staff at various eateries.

An audit of the chefs enterprises earlier this year discovered payroll issues that resulted in over 150 current and previous employees having been underpaid. It must be stated that the discovery was voluntarily advised to the Fair Work Ombudsman and many of those employees had those underpayments corrected at that time.

However, numerous claims remain unresolved at this time and the Ombudsman's office is "concerned" at the timetable and length of time it is taking to correct the outstanding underpayments. "While we appreciate that large scale reconciliations can take considerable time and resources, we do not believe it is reasonable for former employees to have to wait this long to receive wages owed to them", a spokesperson for the Ombudsman's office said.

Workforce Guardian CEO, Sean Wilson, says that "companies have an obligation to correct discovered underpayments, and in a timely fashion. The Ombudsman's office has investigative powers and can prosecute a company it believes is dragging its feet. Employees can take such claims to court as well. It can end up in a time consuming mess served with a headache for businesses".

Wilson went on to say that "while oversights and errors can occur, the best cure is prevention. Knowing exactly what to pay along with understanding the idiosyncrasies of each particular Modern Award will generally prevent an employer from getting it wrong. Our clients only need to pick up the phone or send an email and we can help them to understand what their obligations are".

Author: Charles Watson, Senior HR Advisor, Workforce Guardian

Published: 11 September 2017

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