PappaRich franchisee to face court

By Sarah Stowe | 25 Mar 2019 View comments

A PappaRich restaurant operator will face court for allegedly underpaying 154 staff in Sydney.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is taking legal action against Loke Cheng Wong, manager-operator of the PappaRich franchise outlet at Macquarie Park, and former manager-operator of PappaRich franchise outlets in Chatswood and on Liverpool Street in the Sydney CBD.

The FWO is also taking action against two companies Wong is a director and part-owner of, PPR Ryde (NSW) Pty Ltd and Gateharvest Pty Ltd, for alleged involvement in some of the underpayments.

Underpayment of hourly, penalty and overtime rates

Between 29 May and 2 July 2017, PappaRich employees were allegedly paid flat rates as low as $13 to $14.50 per hour, which resulted in underpayment of the ordinary hourly rates, penalty rates, overtime rates and casual loadings under the Restaurant Industry Award 2010.

In total, it is alleged that 73 employees who primarily worked at PappaRich Macquarie Park were underpaid $34,834, a further 42 employees at PappaRich Chatswood were underpaid $22,533, and 39 employees at the PappaRich Sydney CBD outlet were underpaid $16,633. Some of the employees worked at more than one of the three stores.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker highlighted that a number of the affected PappaRich employees were migrant workers on student and working holiday visas.

“All workers in Australia have the same rights, regardless of citizenship or visa status, and we encourage anyone with concerns about their pay to contact the Fair Work Ombudsman. We have an agreement with the Department of Home Affairs where visa holders can seek our help without fear of their visa being cancelled,” Parker said.

Workplace breaches

The FWO further alleges Wong and his companies breached a number of workplace rules across the three stores. For instance laws relating to annual and personal leave entitlements, entering into written agreements with part-time employees, minimum engagement pay, a split shift allowance, record-keeping and pay slips.

Wong faces penalties of up to $12,600 per contravention and the maximum penalty for PPR Ryde (NSW) Pty Ltd and Gateharvest Pty Ltd is up to $63,000 per contravention.

The FWO is also seeking Court orders for the businesses, and Loke Cheng Wong, to complete workplace relations training.

A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney on 3 May.

All employees have been back-paid in full, except for two who have not yet been located.