Japan’s biggest burger chain Mos Burger has been caught underpaying hundreds of Queensland workers by amounts ranging from $18 to $31,975.
The fast food chain short-changed 285 staff across all six of its Queensland stores from the time it first opened in 2011 to 2018 when it was investigated.
Most of the underpaid workers were the ones making the food and serving the customers, or were store supervisors and managers, the Fair Work Ombudsman’s office said on Friday.
Mos Burger underpaid staff across all six stores, all in Queensland, from the time it opened in 2011 until 2018. The company repaid the money owed plus a 7 percent compensation loading
Most staff affected were those who actually made the food and served the customers. Many were young or migrant workers on visas. Amounts ranged from $18 to $31,975
Many of them were migrant workers on visas and young people, and they were owed both unpaid wages and superannuation, the Ombudsman’s office said in a release on its website.
Mos Burger has now paid back a total of $1.12 million to those affected after a Fair Work Ombudsman investigation, and added a 7 percent compensation payment, the Ombudsman’s office said.
The company agreed to hire external auditors to check employee pay and conditions and rectify any underpayments, and to train senior staff on workplace laws.
Mos Burger, which serves burgers on signature rice buns, has six outlets, at Brisbane, Surfers Paradise, Southport, Broadbeach, Mt Gravatt and Sunnybank.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said her office is cracking down on restaurants, fast food outlets and cafés, and will be watching to make sure Mos Burger complies with its undertaking
It said last year that it wants to open 100 new stores across Australia by 2024, and appointed former McDonald’s executive Tom Jolly as General Manager to lead the expansion.
Fair Work inspectors found Mos Burger had broken the Fast Food Industry Award 2010 by not paying staff their ordinary hourly rates correctly or giving casual loadings.
It also failed to pay penalty rates for night shifts, weekend and holiday hours, and wrongly classified some casuals as part-time staff.
Mos Burger is now testing self-checkout machines in Japan to cut down on staff
The workplace cop fired off a contravention letter to the fast food chain, which agreed to a court-enforceable undertaking – a legal agreement with the Fair Work Ombudsman to mend its ways.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker praised Mos Burger saying it had audited its pay records comprehensively, overhauled its processes to comply with the law and paid back the money it owed promptly.
But she warned that her office would watch to make sure Mos Burger stuck to its agreement.
‘We will monitor compliance with each commitment and won’t hesitate to take court action if they are not upheld,’ Ms Parker said on Friday.
Mos Burger’s signature rice buns. The chain is expanding and last year said it wants 100 new stores across Australia by 2024
‘This matter is a warning to all employers that if they don’t get workplace compliance right from the beginning they can be left with extensive and expensive consequences.’
‘The Fair Work Ombudsman is cracking down on underpayments in the fast food, restaurant and café sector, and any employees with concerns about their pay should contact us,’ Ms Parker said on Friday.
The company was founded in 1972 by Satoshi Sakurada after he worked at a US investment company in the 1960s and frequented American hamburger restaurants.
The name comes from Sakurada’s original company ‘Merchandising Organizing System,’ however, it now stands for ‘Mountain, Ocean, Sun’ in line with the company’s healthy food focus.
The fast food giant was last year worth $560 million and has stores across Japan as well as in Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, and South Korea.
It is now testing self-checkout machines in Japan that accept orders and payments in order to cut down on staff.