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The hidden risks of mismanaging casual workers

The hospitality industry is in the spotlight following a number of media reports highlighting the mistreatment of employees.
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The hidden risks of mismanaging casual workers

The hidden risks of mismanaging casual workers

4 June 2018

The hospitality industry is in the spotlight following a number of media reports highlighting the mistreatment of workers, many of whom are employed on a casual basis. In one recent case, a Tasmanian hotel operator was fined $211,104 for deliberately exploiting, underpaying and discriminating against two Malaysian chefs on temporary visas. Another story revealed that celebrity chef Darren Purchese had personally abused and underpaid his workers by over 40 hours per month. The mistreated workers are currently pursuing justice with the public eye set on the case.

Competitive game of the hospitality industry

While many businesses try to do the right thing, mismanagement of employees is at times engaged consciously, especially in labour based industries such as hospitality. An anonymous “industry insider” told Fairfax Media that café and restaurant owners work under immense pressure to stay competitive, which often leads to doing “the wrong thing in order to survive”.

“While café owners may start wide-eyed and innocent, they are soon educated on how to play the survival game,” the commenter suggests. “It’s been like this for decades with deceptive practices passed on from generation to generation.”

The key issue here is the fact that young and overseas workers account for over 40% of all casual workers in Australia. Often deemed as “casual and vulnerable”, they have become a typical target of exploitation in our workforce including wage theft, overwork and unfair dismissal. While hiring of casual workers is hugely popular due to its perceived cost effectiveness, many employers are unaware of the costly risks involved with the mistreatment of their workers.

Union movement

This issue has attracted the attention of the union movement, who have shown strong support towards vulnerable workers. Hospo Voice, part of the United Voice union is now offering “digital union” subscription for $9.99 a month to all hospitality workers in Australia. “Given the right tools and the right union model, workers will step up. They will stand up, get active and involved”, United Voice Victoria secretary Jess Walsh suggests.

While casuals are getting a stronger voice backed by the union, it is important for employers to carefully manage casual workers with the latest modern awards.

Where to start? The workplace law specialists at the award-winning firm, Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors are presenting you with important knowledge around the management of casual workers at Workplace Update Seminars. Key discussion topics include:

  1. Risk assessment – ‘Regular and systematic’ casuals
  2. Record keeping and employment contracts
  3. Pay grades and overtime provisions
  4. Conversion-to-permanent employment provisions in modern awards
  5. General updates on workplace legislation

Learn more and register for the upcoming Workplace Update Seminars below

  • North Sydney  – Thursday June 7, 8:30am-10:30am [SOLD OUT]
  • Griffith  – Wednesday June 13, 9:00am-11:00am
  • Wagga Wagga – Wednesday June 13, 3:30am-5:30pm
  • Albury – Thursday June 14, 9:00am-1:00am
  • Dubbo – Monday June 18, 10:30am-12:30pm
  • Bathurst – Tuesday June 19, 8:30am-10:30am
  • Tweed Heads – Tuesday June 19, 3:00pm-5:00pm
  • Ballina – Wednesday June 20, 8:00am-10:00am
  • Sydney CBD – Thursday June 21, 8:30am-10:30am [SOLD OUT]

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