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Hospitality worker complains after having five hours of his pay deducted for being on his phone

Rachel Lang

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Hospitality worker complains after having five hours of his pay deducted for being on his phone

A Melbourne business has found themselves at the centre of a social media firestorm after they illegally docked a university student's payslip.

Birdies Mini Golf & Sports Bar in Forest Hill was outed by a former staffer who claims they docked his pay because he was using his phone during his shift.

In a post to Reddit, the unnamed employee threw the question out there.

"I work in hospitality and I have been deducted five hours of pay for 'mobile phone use'. I single-handedly worked at the place from open to close."

The worker added: "I did use my phone when there are no customers. Is this legal?"

The worker also shared his payslip, which shows he was docked AUD$298.65 (£170.72, $USD208.17) in wages during a public holiday shift.

The post soon went viral because, yes, it is illegal, as per the Fair Work Act 2009.

Hundreds of commenters advised him to contact Fair Work Australia, an independent tribunal that polices disputes and protects employees from predatory tactics from businesses.

Shortly after the post kicked off, a representative from the bar told News Corp that he had been warned against using his phone during his shift.

They claimed less than half an hour ticked by on January 2 before he whipped out his phone.

"I warned him, 'If you keep doing this, I’m not going to pay you for the hours you’re on the phone and doing personal things,'" the spokesperson said.

"He said, 'Yes, OK,' but it continued."

She added: "He worked close to nine hours and I paid him for four, which were the hours he was not on his phone."

One Reddit user, who identified themselves as working in payroll and accounting, said: "This is definitely a brazen act by your employer. They may also be breaching Fair Work guidelines around adjusting your timesheet/time worked when it comes to paying you."

Stock image of bartender using their phone behind the bar. Credit: suwinai sukanant / Alamy
Stock image of bartender using their phone behind the bar. Credit: suwinai sukanant / Alamy

Another person added: "I'm a Senior Payroll Officer. That deduction is 100 per cent illegal."

As per the relevant legislation, an employer cannot deduct monies owed to you unless they’re for your benefit or authorised by a law, an enterprise bargaining agreement, or a modern award.

If they do, the employer could face fines of up to AUD$70,000 if they are found to be in breach.

The bar is now getting review-bombed by people who are steaming about the student's pay docking.

The student has since resigned.

Birdies Mini Golf & Sports Bar has been approached for comment.

Featured Image Credit: JaCrispy / Alamy. Cameron Prins / Alamy.

Topics: Australia, News, Reddit

Rachel Lang
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