By Dominic Powell and Emma Koehn
Another celebrity chef has been found to have underpaid employees, with Fairfax reporting workers at Adrian Richardson’s La Luna Bistro were back-paid thousands of dollars after complaining to the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Richardson, who stars in Channel Ten’s show Good Chef Bad Chef, had reportedly advised some staff a “workplace agreement” prevented him from paying penalty rates, and reportedly made staff sign non-disclosure agreements to avoid negative publicity around underpayment.
An employee who told Fairfax she was owed $7900, was reportedly only offered $3589 in reimbursement, while one 18-year-old worker was allegedly paid a flat rate of $14 per hour instead of the award rate of around $21.
A Fair Work Ombudsman spokesperson told Fairfax it had received multiple requests from staff at La Luna Bistro, and while it is assisting the workers it is unable to provide further comment. Richardson did not respond to Fairfax‘s requests for comment.
The report comes just weeks after Masterchef judge George Calombaris apologised for $2.6 million in underpayments at his restaurants.
MYOB commits to 30-day payment times for SMEs
Accounting software giant MYOB has joined the slowly growing ranks of businesses pledging to pay SMEs within 30 days and is calling for other companies to do the same.
“MYOB is committing to paying our suppliers within 30 days. Ensuring businesses are paid on time is one of the best things other businesses can do to keep the economy moving,” said MYOB chief executive Tim Reed in a statement this morning.
“We’re also encouraging other businesses to commit to paying invoices as quickly as possible. The whole economy will benefit if we can introduce a culture of prompt payments into our business community.”
This announcement follows the release of the final report from Australian Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell’s payment times inquiry, which called on the government to introduce legislation outlining the maximum acceptable payment times across each industry.
Carnell also called for a national register to name and shame businesses that don’t pay suppliers on time, telling SmartCompany it would make it clear to SMEs “who they are dealing with”.
Telstra calls for fringe benefits tax overhaul for at-home internet
Telstra has called on the federal government to pay more attention to the rise of flexible work arrangements, using its pre-budget submission to call for a modernisation of fringe benefits tax (FBT) allowances for employees’ at-home phone and wireless services.
Fairfax reports the company’s submission asks the government to revisit section 58X of the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act and consider extending it to “expressly provide that any associated telecommunications and fixed or wireless internet access services provided by the employer for the purposes of operating the eligible work-related item primarily for work, be also exempt from FBT”.
“The expense payment benefit of reimbursing an employee for home internet services should be treated as an exempt fringe benefit pursuant to this section if it is provided for the dominant purpose of operating an eligible work-related item,” Telstra’s director of taxation John Burke said in the submission.