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Franchise agrees to back-pay staff

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Inside Franchise Business: Cafe agrees to backpay staffFranchise Degani Bakery Café’s south of Melbourne branch has agreed to back-pay staff almost $10,000 after a Fair Work Ombudsman audit found employees as young as 18 were being underpaid.

The underpayments occurred at the Degani outlet located at the Bentons Square shopping centre in Mornington.

The Fair Work Ombudsman discovered the underpayments during a self-initiated compliance activity commenced in 2016 that involved audits of 14 Degani branded cafes in and around Melbourne and two at Rockhampton, in Queensland.

The audits checked whether workers were being paid their lawful minimum entitlements after employee enquiries and intelligence received by the Fair Work Ombudsman raised concerns some Degani Bakery Cafes were not meeting their obligations.

Each of the audited cafes was in franchisee or licensee arrangements with Degani Australia Pty Ltd.

According to the Fair Work Ombudsman a contributing factor in the underpayments was the failure of the Mornington outlet’s operators – Kerry Marie Rowson and her company [email protected] Pty Ltd – to correctly apply advice they received about annualised rates from a workplace relations advisory firm.

Rowson and her company are said to have fully co-operated with Fair Work inspectors, agreeing to back-pay workers in full and overhaul their business practices under the terms of an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) entered into with the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The Fair Work Obudsman said the company must also apologise to workers and display notices detailing its breaches in the workplace and on the company’s website.

Degani has been contacted for comment. 

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