Navdeep Kaur arrived in Australia as an international student. She was later employed as a pastry chef at Wild Sage Café run by The Blu Hornsby Pty Ltd at Cammeray in NSW on a 457 skilled worker visa.
Navdeep oversaw the dessert section of the kitchen, making items from the dessert menu and baking items such as croissants and muffins.
She often put in overtime hours, worked till midnight on weekdays and also worked on weekends.
But still she was reluctant to raise concerns about her wages and penalty rates because she was reliant on the company for her visa to remain in Australia.
However, after her employment ended, Navdeep lodged a request for assistance with the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Legal proceedings commenced and Judge Justin Smith described the underpayment as a “considerable sum” for the employee, whose contract entitled her to a salary of $52,000 per annum.
Six months after the Fair Work Ombudsman took legal action against Café Owner Arthur Antonopoulos and his company Blu Hornsby Pty Ltd, they reimbursed their former employee Navdeep Kaur more than $22,000 in outstanding wages and entitlements.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said that visa-holders are over-represented in the Fair Work Ombudsman’s complaints data, and that their complaints involve the most serious examples of exploitation.
“For example, people being paid well under the minimum wage of $17.29 an hour … we see cases of $8, $10, $12 an hour,” she said.
Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.
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