A Melbourne DVD rental store is being investigated by the Workplace Ombudsman after its owner was revealed to have offered DVDs to its staff instead of cash wages.
Carlton Video Dogs advertised for casual staff to work between 5pm and 7pm in return for free DVD rentals. The Ombudsman plans to investigate the store, seeking pay slips and wage records, and also plans to interview employees.
The Workplace Ombudsman’s executive director Michael Campbell says paying in DVDs is a blatant breach of workplace legislation.
“All employees have entitlement to a minimum wage, either by legislation or a federal award… employers are bound by those awards and must pay in accordance with them. As part of that, DVDs wouldn’t be part of the pay scale.”
The owner of Carlton Dogs has voluntarily made contact with the Ombudsman, but Campbell says that although the investigation is under wraps, he wouldn’t be surprised if the actions were the result of ignorance of the law.
“I won’t comment on the investigation. But it wouldn’t surprise me sometimes that employers would be ignorant. Most breaches are the result of misinformation.”
Campbell also says the investigation takes some time. “An investigation would involve us making contact with both parties, them explaining the working relationship… We compare pay records that we can demand… It’s a system of demanding records, interviews, and assessing evidence.”
The maximum penalty for breaking workplace legislation is $33,000.