Esteemed MasterChef judge, George Calombaris was left "devastated" after realising that a mishap within his company caused more than one third of his staff members to be incorrectly paid.
The Melbourne-based chef sent out a heartfelt apology to 162 members of his 430 team who were affected by the mistake, with some being overpaid and some underpaid or missing out on overtime payments dating back to 2011.
The MAdE Group (the company of which George is the founder and director) had underpaid staff a total of $2.6 million.
“You, our amazing team, are the key to our success. I am so sorry we have messed up and let you down on a fundamental issue,” he said.
George employs staff at four high-profile restaurants including The Press Club, Gazi, Hellenic Republic and Jimmy Grants, but a statement confirms that only staff at The Press Club, Gazi and Hellenic Republic were affected.
He added: “I am devastated by what has happened and we have been working extremely hard to fix this. I want to be clear that getting it right means ensuring that every single one of our team members is paid what they are entitled to under the industry award, and that any outstanding money owed to staff is rectified as our highest priority.”
The Fair Work Ombudsman notified Calombaris’ company of the mistake back in 2015 but it wasn’t picked up until only recently by an analysis carried out by the company.
“Regrettably, our attention to detail at that time wasn’t at a level it should have been,” George says of not addressing the issue sooner.
The research found “discrepancies with the payroll process determining how employees were classified and how overtime was calculated,” the company confirmed in a statement.
MAdE Establishment CEO Troy McDonagh said the recalcualation had gone back to 2011 with an “average back payment to employees just over $16,000”
“The company prides itself on providing a great learning and working environment for hundreds of people who share it’s passion for food and family. We are committed to fixing the issue immediately,” he said.
The celebrity chef is worth an estimated $7 million.