HOSPITALITY businesses that use the offer of “trial” work to skip out on paying young workers are being warned to understand their obligations or risk investigation.
The Fair Work Commission says trial work periods can be no longer that two hours and can only involve the tasks that the job requires.
However, Mount Eliza mother Louise Payne says that regulation is not being adhered to by some employers.
Four weeks ago, her 17-year-old son was asked to do trial at a Mornington Peninsula cafe and willingly worked from 7am to 3pm.
Payne said her son worked hard, which she observed when she popped in to say hello, and that there was an expectation that he would be paid for his time.
“At the end of the day he worked, he was told he had done a great job and that they would be in touch,” she said.
“When I rang up two weeks later to find out what was going on a manager told me they were still trialling people for the position.”
Her son was later blocked from a manager’s phone number after he called to find out about the job and his pay.
Payne said her son wasn’t concerned, but that she was speaking out because she wanted young people and their parents to know their rights in the workplace.
“It was a bad experience, and I was annoyed at this attitude,” she said.
“As a parent I wanted to let others know and be sure they don’t let that happen.”
The Fair Work website states that unpaid work trials can only be used in limited situations to test a person’s job skills and determine if they are suitable for the job.
Fair Work ombudsman Sarah Parker said fast food, restaurants and cafes sectors, and agriculture industries, would be the key industries of focus in 2022-23.
“The FWO continues to find high levels of non-compliance in the fast food, restaurants and cafe sector, with many requests for assistance coming from vulnerable workers,” she said.
“That is why we will continue to undertake proactive investigations in metropolitan food precincts across the year.”
Information about unpaid work can be found at fairwork.gov.au/tools-and-resources/fact-sheets/unpaid-work/unpaid-work-hospitality-industry