Ava Handsley??? always wondered why she didn't get paid penalty rates.
Since starting as a 15-year-old at a Doncaster East Bakers Delight she has always been paid a flat rate, at first just $8.58 an hour. Then at the turn of the year she came across a Facebook page telling her she was being underpaid.
"I was shocked but wasn't shocked ??? I had suspicions and this confirmed my suspicions," she said.
Now 18, Ms Handsley and a co-worker Savarna Nock have with their union been litigating all year against Bakers Delight franchisee Caden Group to get award penalty rates and back-pay.
It has been fought at every turn, even though it's been acknowledged they should be paid award rates. Bakers Delight head office even concede they are entitled to back-pay.
The underpayment is significant. Ms Handsley, doing her VCE, is currently getting paid $15.02 an hour for her weekly Sunday shift, when she should be getting more than $27 an hour.
Ms Nock, also 18, works three days a week, without penalty rates. She applied to join the legal case against her employer after about six months working at the store.
"I felt a bit robbed," she said. "It's taken a lot longer than expected, we'll hopefully get there soon."
Retail and Fast Food Workers Union secretary Josh Cullinan said the experience of these workers was typical. Bakers Delight franchisees were regularly using old workplace agreements that pay below minimum rates.
"In our experience the vast majority of Bakers Delight franchisees are using outdated agreements that would never pass the BOOT (better off overall test) now, that strip millions of dollars in penalty rates."
Other franchisees had tried to strip workers of annual and sick leave while workers were regularly not being paid for online training, he said.
"Unpaid training is rife as are arrangements which don't agree on weekly hours. Ava and Savarna don't have weekly hours ??? it's effectively casual without the casual loading."
A spokesman for Bakers Delight head office said it could not comment on the specifics of the case as it was before the courts, but added: "We are aware of the situation and have advised the Caden Group to fulfil their obligation to back-pay staff. However we do recognise their right as a franchisee to fully explore their options through the Federal Circuit Court and are awaiting an outcome."
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