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All these celebrity restaurant wage-theft scandals point to an industry norm

All these celebrity restaurant wage-theft scandals point to an industry norm

The latest celebrity-chef-linked wage-theft scandal, with the high-end restaurant Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in Melbourne allegedly underpaying its staff by A$4 million, is the tip of the iceberg for wage exploitation in the hospitality industry.

Since mid-2018 we’ve interviewed 180 culinary students, apprentice chefs and mature chefs as part of an ongoing study into mental health and wellbeing in the hospitality industry.

In particular it takes three forms: unpaid overtime; not paying correct penalty rates; and making those looking for jobs do free work trials.

The next most common form of wage theft, our research suggests, is not paying penalty rates.

When our research is complete, we hope to be able to better quantify the extent to which industry practices contribute to poor mental health among hospitality workers.

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