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International students allegedly underpaid thousands by Malaysian restaurant

Amber Ziye Wang

Tue Feb 02 2016


FOUR former international students are among a group of employees who were underpaid more than $87,000 by Malaysian restaurant franchise Mamak in the latest case of work exploitation. Amber Ziye Wang has more. 

The operators of Mamak, the well-known Malaysian restaurant brand, are facing court over allegations that they underpaid six employees tens of thousands of dollars and used false records to try and disguise the underpayments.

Six casual staff members at Mamak’s Haymarket restaurant in Sydney, which includes four former international students, allege Mamak’s operators had shortchanged them a total of of $87,349. They were allegedly paid flat rates as low as $11 an hour.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against restaurant owner-operators Joon Hoe Lee, Julian Lee and Alan Wing-Keung Au and their company Mamak Pty Ltd.

One employee was allegedly underpaid a total of $26,793 and another $21,538.

Under the Restaurant Industry Award, five employees should have been paid more than $22 for normal hours.

Fair Work inspectors were allegedly provided with false records that made it appear as though higher rates had been paid to one employee than was actually the case.

According to The Fair Work Ombudsman, Mamak may face penalties of up to $51,000 per contravention.