Top Juice wages recovered after workplace breaches

The Fair Work Ombudsman has recovered $32,435 in unpaid wages for 18 workers at Top Juice.

The wages recovery follows an investigation into 16 outlets across eastern Australia after multiple anonymous reports were received from workers concerned about possible breaches of workplace law.

Late in 2019 Fair Work inspectors paid surprise visits to nine stores in Sydney, three in Melbourne and one each in Brisbane, Canberra, the NSW Central Coast and Wollongong, and the Sydney head office.

Four outlets were company-owned and operated; the remaining 12 franchised. Inspectors found that seven of the outlets (44 per cent) failed to comply with workplace laws, five of these franchisee-owned stores.

Five outlets had underpaid employees, two had failed their payslip obligations. The most common breaches occurred in weekend, public holiday and overtime penalty rates (65 per cent) and the minimum hourly rate (30 per cent).

In total, $29,384 was recovered for 13 Melbourne staff employed in two franchised outlets; four Sydney workers from two businesses were repaid $2,597; one Canberra employee was repaid $453.

Fair Work recovered $17,718 for seven employees in a Melbourne business and the smallest amount recovered was $174 for three employees at a Sydney store.

The regulator said 15 of the 18 underpaid workers were on student and working holiday visas.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker reminded employers that all employees in Australia have the same rights at work, regardless of nationality.

“The Fair Work Ombudsman continues to focus on improving workplace compliance among franchises in the food industry this year. While the Top Juice investigation commence prior to the pandemic, the FWO has continued to enforce workplace laws in a proportionate manner, as we know Covid-19 has had a significant impact on many businesses in the fast food, restaurant and café industry.”

Compliance Notices, one formal caution, and two Infringement Notices for pay slip breaches with penalties totalling $420 were issued. Future breaches could lead to enforcement action.

Targeted advice and resources are available to franchises for free at www.fairwork.gov.au/franchises and for the fast food, restaurant and café sector at www.fairwork.gov.au/frac.