25 July 2019

Dr Joanna Howe: “In the face of all this evidence, it was particularly galling to hear this week that the hospitality industry’s peak body has rejected the claim that there is a culture of underpayment in Australian cafes and restaurants. … The extent of the underpayments and the duplicitous nature in which many of these occur (cash-in-hand payments, failure to record overtime, a culture of half-pay, falsified pay slips and so on) means it is simply not credible to argue this wage theft is attributable to an innocent mistake by employers. … [W]e would not accept poor food safety standards because of an argument that these standards were too complex. In fact, we expect cafe and restaurant owners to properly research food safety standards and to apply them robustly in their businesses. The same approach should be applied to employers with respect to labour standards.”