Food gone bad: Dinner by Heston staff underpaid by more than $4 million

In the latest high-profile underpayment case to make the media, a restaurant linked to celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal cheated workers out of $4.5 million, according to a leaked administrator’s report.

Dinner by Heston, which operates out of Melbourne’s Crown Resort, is not owned by Blumenthal despite carrying the celebrity chef’s name. Yet the media attention does not bode well for the reputation of the globally recognised chef known for his innovative and scientific approach to food.

A spokeswoman for Crown (who self-reported the under-payments to the Fair Work Ombudsman) said in a statement that Dinner by Heston was a tenant rather than a joint venture, employed its own staff and was responsible for its own operations under the restaurant’s parent company Tipsy Cake.

The blueprint for the retainer of the majority of the restaurant’s staff, however, was initially established by a Crown employee. This resulted in the underpayment of employee wages over a period of four years from commencement of business until circa June 2019, when the employment arrangements were changed to comply with employment legislation, reveals the creditor’s report.

Hospitality workers are owed up to $35,000 after working 80 to 90-hour weeks. Some workers also now face losing sponsored visa status and will be forced to leave the country because of Crown’s move to evict Dinner by Heston.

This is only one example of how a company should never rely on existing processes without regular audits or reviews. An outsourced payroll model shifts compliance responsibility and liability and allows business owners to focus their attention on their core business function.

Outsourcing payroll services not only saves time but can also save your company the risk of financial penalties and back-payments in the future. As was the case in this scenario with Crown, it can take years before problems are identified, at which point the costs to rectify the situation have grown significantly.

When was the last time you reviewed your payroll practices? Contact Easy Payroll today to discuss how we can assist in ensuring compliance with your payroll.

(Source: ABC News)

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