Celebrity chef George Calombaris’ restaurant empire is facing voluntary administration after it emerged last year staff were backpaid $7.8 million in wages and superannuation in 2017.
The business employs about 500 staff at its 18 restaurants, which include Gazi, the Jimmy Grants souvlaki chain and Yo-Chi frozen yoghurt stores.
It is expected that all staff and creditors will be paid, but some poorly performing restaurants could be sold.
Made Establishment was ordered to make a $200,000 contrition payment after the underpayments were uncovered.
The fine sparked outrage from unions, who argued the payment did not reflect the scale of the underpayments.
The financial position of Calombaris’ Made Establishment was taken into account when determining how much he should be forced to pay.
“We require them to provide statements and we discuss that with them. Those are matters that are commercial in confidence. They were a factor in this case,” Fair Work Ombudsman Sarah Parker said.
Bosses who deliberately steal from employees will face serious criminal penalties under laws proposed by Attorney-General Christian Porter.
Inadvertent errors that are fixed quickly will see companies avoid prosecution.