Café and restaurant business owners will soon start receiving information on employment obligations under a new state-wide education campaign being run by the Wageline at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.
The campaign focuses on café and restaurant businesses in the state industrial relations system, which are those that operate as sole traders, unincorporated partnerships and unincorporated trusts.
Pay rates, including higher pay rates for weekends and public holidays, allowances and working hours in state system cafés and restaurants are set by the Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Workers’ Award. It is unlawful for employers to pay employees less than the rates of pay outlined in this WA Award.
The pay rates in the Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Workers’ Award apply:
- in all metropolitan and regional areas of Western Australia;
- to all employees working in a café or restaurant as wait staff, baristas, kitchenhands, counterhands, chefs, cooks and other roles related to the preparation of food and serving of customers;
- to all full time, part time and casual staff; and
- to all staff working on student visas, working holiday visas and temporary skilled visas.
Following Wageline’s awareness raising campaign, selected businesses will be audited by industrial inspectors from Private Sector Labour Relations to check that employees are receiving their correct pay rates and entitlements, and business owners are maintaining correct employment records. If underpayments or other breaches are identified, Private Sector Labour Relations may initiate enforcement action against employers in the Industrial Magistrates Court.
Since 2015, Private Sector Labour Relations industrial inspectors have received 139 complaints from employees of cafes and restaurants for underpayment of wages, allowances or leave under the Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Workers’ Award. Via conciliation and formal investigations, a total of $235,410 has been recovered on behalf of employees, an average of $1,694 per employee.
The Employment obligations in the café and restaurant sector page on the Wageline website gives café and restaurant business owners more information on employment obligations and the current campaign. You can also call Wageline on 1300 655 266.
Employees who believe that they have been underpaid should visit the Making a complaint about underpayment of wages or entitlements page for more information.