Are you being underpaid?

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Earlier this week, prominent restaurant owner and celebrity chef George Calombaris made headlines for grossly underpaying 162 employees in at least three of his restaurants in Melbourne.

Calombaris’ restaurant group MAdE Establishment underpaid staff $2.6 million in salaries and overtime over the course of six years, and no progress was made to repay the funds until October of 2016.

However, this story is far too familiar for United Voice members in areas of hospitality and security.

Wilson Security has avoided paying penalty rates to United Voice members who work in security, by placing them on an old WorkChoices EA that does not guarantee the rates when they should have been covered by the current Award.

For potentially hundreds of workers at Wilson Security, the findings could bring about thousands of dollars in back pay.

For workers at MAdE Establishment and Wilson Security, these cases represent hours of unpaid overtime, inconvenience, and unnecessary extra work.

Management do not have the right to request unpaid overtime, and workers have the right to be compensated accordingly.

What to do if you think you’ve been underpaid:

  1. Start by ensuring you’re keeping a record of your hours and your pay. The Fair Work Ombudsman has just released an app you can use available from the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website (https://www.fairwork.gov.au/).
  2. Request your ‘time and wages record’ (Payslips) from your employer for the period of your employment during which you think you’ve been underpaid. Employers are required to keep records for 7 years and a required to provide them when you request them. If your employer refuses or says they don’t have records contact the Member Support Team.
  3. If you are able to get records and you have recorded your own hours and pay, check the Modern Award or Agreement under which you are employed. You can contact the Member Support Team for information on which Award or Agreement you are employed.
  4. Look at the rate of pay you should be paid in your Award or Agreement including the penalty rates, casual rates or overtime rates which apply to you. If you have trouble working out what rates apply to you, Member Support can help.
  5. Try to put together a document which shows what you have been paid vs what you should have been paid.
  6. If you don’t think you’ll be able to undertake steps 3 to 5, contact the Member Support team for assistance.

If you can prove you have been underpaid, United Voice can assist you with making a demand that your employer should pay you the money including assisting you with a court process to recover the money if required.