The Fairfax Media are reporting a great natural experiment:
______ was working at Japanese bar Hihou, and its sister restaurant Izakaya Den, getting paid an illegal flat rate of $15 an hour. She complained, and a week later she got sacked.
So that’s the caption in the story photo, what is the story?
Diners in Sydney’s A-list suburbs are unknowingly exploiting an underclass of employees who are being grossly underpaid, Fairfax Media has found.
Widespread cash-in-hand payments are resulting in hospitality workers being paid more than a third below the minimum wage, which is currently $15.96 per hour.
Fairfax has established restaurants in Manly, Neutral Bay and the northern beaches are paying employees as little as $10 an hour in cash.
The investigation has found the Sushi Bar Taka in Manly paid employees $10 an hour, Sushi Train in Neutral Bay was paying some employees $13 an hour and a northern beaches restaurant was paying $12 an hour.
With loadings and other entitlements, the workers are missing out on up to half the mandated salary they are entitled to.
Here is the thing – many of these people have a choice between having a job and not having a job at the minimum wage. A lot of these individuals would rather have a job than their so-called entitlement or mandated salary.
But what about the ‘exploitation’? Well you have to ask how many of these individuals are actually exploited? If they don’t like the salary they actually earn they can always get another job, or become unemployed. Being unemployed pays $35 a day – as we now all know following the recent kerfuffle involving Jenny Macklin.
You have to wonder about a mentality that would rather see people being unemployed than working.
After thought: Some might want to argue that cash-in-hand contributes to tax evasion. Yes it does, but at this level of income the taxpayer is better off with some evasion than paying the dole.