Another one bites the dust. It was only a few days ago we warned that we were yet to see the last of the underpayment epidemic (see here) and the jovial MasterChef judge, George Calombaris, was next on the Fair Work Ombudsman's chopping block.
The FWO has sought to make an example of George and his restaurant empire, MADE Establishment, through an enforceable undertaking. Enforceable undertakings allow the FWO to strike a deal with offending employers who are willing to fall on their sword (or skewer) as an alternative to litigation.
In addition to making the $7.83 million back-payment and a $200,000 "contrition" payment, the FWO is forcing George to go on a public speaking roadshow as its newest advocate for workplace compliance. Check your local listings for tickets.
MADE is also required to:
publish a written public apology on social media, its websites, and in mainstream and industry magazines and newspapers; train personnel on workplace laws and compliance; implement a new compliance system; and conduct regular audits to confirm everyone has been paid correctly.
Although embarrassing, George got off easy. An underpayment of this nature doesn't usually happen by accident and if the FWO opted to litigate, the fines would have been much bigger.
Although it may appear that underpayments are happening more frequently, the recent headlines are due to the FWO's growing commitment to catch wage thieves. So, who's next?