Café owner ordered to serve up more than $33,000 in backpay and penalties

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The owner of a now-closed North Perth café has been ordered by the Industrial Magistrates Court to back pay $24,337 in unpaid award wages and interest to five former employees.  

Ms Jodie Cooper, who operated the Cloud Nine Vegan café, was also penalised $9,000 for the 24 contraventions of the Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Workers’ Award 1979.

When setting the penalties, Industrial Magistrate Flynn stated that he took into consideration that the workers were young, many of them were on a visa and that the underpayments were large amounts of money for these employees, causing them to struggle financially.

The Industrial Magistrate also stated that the penalty should send a message to other employers that awards served an important function and that it is not worth underpaying employees.

Private Sector Labour Relations Executive Director Lorraine Field today warned other state system employers in the café business to check their employees’ pay rates and ensure that correct award rates of pay are provided to all employees.

“Currently a number of teams of state industrial inspectors are active across Perth and regional Western Australia auditing café and restaurant businesses to check that the employees are being paid the legal pay rates under the Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Workers’ Award 1979,” Ms Field said.

“Businesses in the state industrial relations system are those that operate as sole traders, unincorporated partnerships or unincorporated trusts.”

Information on pay rates and employment conditions for café and restaurant workers is available in the WA award summary for the Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Workers Award on the Wageline website.

Information on state employment laws is available at or by calling Wageline on 1300 655 266.

Media Contact: Caroline De Vaney, 6251 2363 or 0408 927 563 (media enquiries only)

Labour Relations
Media release
06 Mar 2020

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