On Friday, the Fair Work Ombudsman announced that the owners of Melbourne cafes Touchwood in Richmond and A Minor Place in Brunswick have admitted to underpaying their staff.

The underpayments cover the period of January to April 2018, and were uncovered following a Fair Work audit. Workers at both cafes were not receiving their entitlements under the Restaurant Industry Award 2010, including minimum hourly rates, overtime and penalty rates, and annual leave entitlements.

Seventeen employees at Touchwood were underpaid a total of $22,313 over the audit period. The largest individual underpayment to a staff member was $3852. The full-time chef was entitled to a base rate of $21.29 per hour, rising to $42.58 for overtime hours. The chef, who turned 21 during the audit period, was paid a flat rate of $18.50 per hour.

At A Minor Place, nine employees were underpaid a total of $2633 during the audit period. The highest individual underpayment was $598.

The underpayments during the audit period from both businesses have now been rectified.

Cindy Huynh is the company director of Café Touchwood Pty Ltd and Cafecino Enterprise Pty Ltd (operating as Touchwood and A Minor Place respectively). Her husband Duy Phuong Dang is also listed as a shareholder and business manager of Cafecino Enterprise Pty Ltd.

Huynh has signed both business up to a Court-Enforceable Undertaking (EU). The EUs will require each business to make declarations every six months for the next three years that demonstrate employees are receiving their entitlements. The companies must also complete external audits for the 2019–2020 pay period and make a combined $8000 contrition payment to the Commonwealth Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund.

In May, North Fitzroy cafe Mitte was ordered to backpay its staff almost $38,000 by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Employers and employees can visit fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for free advice and assistance about their rights and obligations in the workplace. A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.