Café accused of paying staff with food instead of money.


The operators of a Brisbane café allegedly paid their employees (particularly with reference to visa workers) in food and drink.

It is reported that visa holders, including junior workers aged under 21, were paid in meals, desserts and drinks over two periods between August 2017 and January 2018, as stated in federal court.

Eleven employees are among those who were paid in food and drinks, and worked as cooks, kitchen attendants and food and beverage attendants.

The company director, co-owner-director and manager are scheduled to face court on February 21 2020.

Fair Work Ombudsman said, “all employees in Australia are entitled to be paid the minimum pay rates that apply to their positions in money, not food.

Businesses should be aware that we are cracking down on the underpayment of vulnerable workers in the fast food, restaurant and café sector as a priority.”

Paying workers in food or drink is a breach of the Fair Work Act, and all workers are entitled to be paid minimal entitlements as per their award.

If the allegations are proven to be true, the business faces maximum penalties of $63,000 per breach, while the directors and operators face maximum penalties of up to $12,600 for every contravention.

If you need advice on managing your responsibilities as an employer, or any other human resource matters, contact ProcessWorx



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Marisa Ross

HR Advisor

Marisa is an experienced and motivated HR professional with a strong HR generalist and business operations background with a focus on employee relations, performance management, leadership training & development, workers compensation & injury management, and employee retention. Marisa holds a Bachelor of Human Resource Management and a Bachelor of Behavioural Science with a minor in Counselling. Having worked in a variety of industries from SMEs to large blue-chip organisations, Marisa is passionate about enriching employee experience, employee retention, and building leadership capability in people management.

Aimee Grigson

Aimee Grigson

WHS Advisor

Aimee has a strong understanding of Workplace Health and Safety Legislation and standards and has extensive HSEQ experience in a number of industries. Aimee has a great ability to engage across all levels of organisation, including field teams, leadership and external stakeholders. Aimee ensures Health and Safety Management Systems are compliant to legislation, effectively implemented and understood by all. Aimee has a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety and qualifications in auditing and incident investigations. Aimee is passionate about coaching and developing small businesses towards a positive safety culture.