As you may have heard, George Calombaris’s restaurant group Made Establishment has admitted to underpaying $2.6 million in wages following an administrative error.
Of the 430 current staff members at The Press Club, Gazi and Hellenic Republic, 162 have been affected. They were owed an average of $16,000. All outstanding wages were back-paid on April 3.
Calombaris has previously voiced his objections to penalty rates – some of which cover overtime pay – applied under the Hospitality Industry Award.
Currently filming in Japan, Calombaris has personally apologised to staff members via email for the current payroll issues.
Speaking to Broadsheet this afternoon, Made Establishment CEO Troy McDonagh said the issue arose from an administrative error, which caused a discrepancy in overtime wages.
The Fair Work Ombudsman alerted the company to issues with its payroll system in 2015, following an employee’s concern about unpaid overtime. McDonagh says the company launched an internal review in November and found the error, which was then independently verified by KPMG.
“We’ve commenced a payback to our ex-employees; we’ve started with the first 30 of those, and anyone that’s coming forward with some concerns, we’re running through the same process that we did with our existing team,” McDonagh says.
“We’ve put in place a system and process that ensures our people can be correctly paid and we can manage whatever overtime hours are being worked and they’re payed accordingly.
“We’ve got resourcing now that supports the oversight of that and we’ll also engage a strong independent auditing partner to ensure that happens. We’ll do that on a six monthly and an annual basis as we’ve done with the recent review.”
So far payments have been dated back to 2011, the start-date of the oldest current employee.
“There are some amazing people in our team, we’re really reliant on them to ensure that our future is bright,” McDonagh says. “We want to make sure that we’ve got a really harmonious happy workplace where people feel they’re treated and valued accordingly.”
Former employees can contact the company here.
With additional reporting by Callum McDermott.