July 2019 | George Calombaris underpayment scandal blows out to $7.8 million

Date: 18 July 2019

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Celebrity chef George Calombaris has been slapped with a substantial fine after admitting to underpaying $7.83 million in wages to 515 current and former employees of his hospitality empire as part of an unprecedented deal with the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The MasterChef star has been ordered to make a $200,000 "contrition payment" and must also make a series of public statements to promote compliance with the Fair Work Act, according to an enforceable undertaking announced on Thursday morning.

The full extent of the underpayment scandal has dwarfed initial estimates by Calombaris from April 2017, when his company Made Establishment announced that 162 workers had been underpaid $2.6 million because of "historically poor processes".

A four-year investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman uncovered a raft of breaches, including a failure to pay minimum award rates, penalty rates, casual loadings, overtime rates, split-shift allowances and annual leave loadings.

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