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$20,000 penalty for underpayment of two young apprentice chefs

23 August 2012

The former owner-operator of a Queensland delicatessen has been fined $19,965 for underpaying two young apprentice chefs following an investigation and prosecution by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The Federal Magistrates Court in Brisbane has imposed the penalty against Christopher Meade Jones, who formerly owned and ran the ‚ ≤Fed Up Deli’ at the corner of Thorn and Limestone streets, Ipswich.

Federal Magistrate Michael Jarrett found Jones’ business underpaid two full-time apprentice chefs $15,007 and $5471 respectively between October, 2008 and March, 2010.

The staff were underpaid wages and annual leave entitlements.

Federal Magistrate Jarrett ordered that Jones pay his fine to the two apprentices, both males in their 20s, to partially rectify the underpayments.

FM Jarrett said the underpayments represented a disregard for statutory obligations and the loss to the employees was significant.

The law should mark its disapproval of the conduct and set a penalty which serves as a warning to others,‚ π he said.

Steps must be taken by employers of all sizes to properly ascertain and comply with minimum entitlements.

Compliance should not be seen as the bastion of the large employer with human resources staff and advisory consultants.‚ π

The Fair Work Ombudsman initially commenced proceedings against Jones’ private company Fed Up Deli & Catering Pty Ltd, but it went into liquidation earlier this year, preventing the action from continuing.