Cafe served with court date for underpayments

back-paid, cafes, food and drinks

The operators of a Melbourne cafe is set to face court for the alleged underpayments of 13 of its workers. According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, Aisha & Umma Enterprises Pty Ltd, which trades as RMB Café, did not pay the workers, who served as food and beverage attendants and cooks, all the entitlements they were owed under the Restaurant Industry Award 2010 between May 2017 and August 2019. The workers, including five student visa holders, were found to have been underpaid their minimum wages for ordinary hours, weekend penalty rates and public holiday rates.

The FWO investigated the cafe as part of its 2018-19 Melbourne food precincts audits, which resulted in an Inspector issuing a Compliance Notice to the company in June 2020 to correct the violations through a back-payment of $36,479.26 to the employees.

However, the company, with no reasonable excuse provided to the FWO, has so far failed in complying with the notice. Aisha & Umma has allegedly only paid a total of $4701.42 to date.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator would continue to enforce workplace laws and take businesses to court where lawful requests are not complied with.

“Where employers do not comply, we will take appropriate action to protect employees. A court can order a business to pay penalties in addition to back-paying workers,” Parker said.

The FWO is seeking a penalty against Aisha & Umma Enterprises Pty Ltd of up to $33,300. It is also seeking an order for the company to comply with the Compliance Notice, which includes rectifying any underpayments in full, plus interest and superannuation.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Melbourne on 11 November 2021.