Fair Work recovers $233,000 from Gami Chicken for unpaid wages

The Fair Work Ombudsman has recovered $233,087 in unpaid wages from 19 outlets of fried chicken chain Gami Chicken & Beer.

The non-compliance was discovered in a pre-pandemic investigation after the regulator received large numbers of requests for assistance and anonymous reports from workers about potential breaches of workplace laws.

Fair Work inspectors visited 15 outlets in Melbourne, two in Sydney and two in Perth last year. Six were company stores, the remaining 13 franchised outlets.

All 19 of the audited outlets had underpaid employees, and 15 were not meeting payslip and record-keeping obligations. One third were underpaying penalty rates (33 per cent) and 13 per cent were failing to pay the minimum hourly rate.

The most common reason given for non-compliance was a lack of awareness of all workplace obligations (68 per cent).

Fair Work recovers $233,000

As a result of the investigation 353 workers have been back-paid, many of them young and migrant employees.

Recoveries from individual businesses ranged from $1,129 for eight employees in a Sydney business to $49,069 for 17 employees in a Melbourne business.

There were 10 formal cautions, and nine on-the-spot fines with penalties totalling $25,410.

One business remains under investigation and may face legal proceedings; the other businesses were advised that future breaches will likely lead to enforcement action.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the high rates of non-compliance were unacceptable.

“Inspectors found that Gami Chicken & Beer operators had simply not prioritised meeting their lawful obligations to their workers. A lack of awareness is not a valid excuse for a business to breach workplace laws,” said Parker.

“The FWO expects all employers to comply with workplace obligations and they should access our free tools and resources if they need assistance. Any employees with queries about pay should contact us.”

Parker reiterated that improving compliance among franchises in the fast food, restaurant and café industry continues to be a priority for the Fair Work Ombudsman.