A restaurant fronted by celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal has reportedly been underpaying its chefs by up to A$30,000 (Dh79,000). Overall, based on the size of its workforce and an analysis by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, Dinner by Heston could be underpaying its permanent chefs up to US$1 million a year.
Information on two chefs at Melbourne's Dinner by Heston, which is set to open an outpost in Dubai in 2019, has been handed to the Fair Work Ombudsman after they were found to have been underpaid for excessive overtime worked.
According to a lawyer for the Hospo Voice Union in Australia, it is estimated one chef was underpaid by $20,000 to $25,000 a year (up to Dh66,000) while another received up to $30,000 less than they were due. The calculations were worked out on the basis that both chefs were working 20 hours of unpaid overtime each week, however the chefs say that some weeks they could work as many as 40 extra hours.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has now confirmed it is looking into the issue. ''The Fair Work Ombudsman is conducting enquiries into this matter and it is not appropriate to comment further,'' a spokeswoman told The Sydney Morning Herald.
The restaurant told the publication it did not believe it was underpaying staff, but would do a ‘’review’’ and deal with any issues found “immediately’’. The spokesperson also stressed that the allegations only relate to the Melbourne restaurant.