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George Calombaris Slapped With Massive Fine Amid Underpayment Scandal

Celebrity chef George Calombaris has been found to have underpaid staff at his restaurants by nearly $8 million.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has fined the chef and his Made Establishment company $200,000.

Calombaris must implement new payroll and compliance systems across his stable of restaurants that include Hellenic Republic, Gazi and Jimmy Grants.

Made founder and director, George Calombaris, apologised to all former and current staff affected.

"We apologise to all our affected team members, past and present - as it is our people that make our restaurants great, and it is our priority to ensure all of our employees feel respected, rewarded and supported in their roles," he said.

"We are committed to acting as a force for change in the industry and leading by example when it comes to building and promoting supportive, healthy and compliant hospitality workplaces."

George Calombaris
George Calombaris. Photo: Getty Images.

The Melbourne-based company said it identified incorrect payments during a review in early 2017, following a change in ownership and management.

On Thursday it confirmed it had entered into an enforceable undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman after self-reporting the incorrect payments.

The company said the ombudsman confirmed its finding that employees were wrongly classified and underpaid, due to incorrect processes and failures across its payroll and human resources systems.

Made group CEO, Leigh Small, said all current team members were now correctly classified and new procedures were in place.

"Since changing ownership, we have introduced a new CEO, a new People and Culture Director and new processes and procedures to ensure we're not only complying with workplace relations laws but actively promoting a culture of employee wellbeing," he said.

"All current Made team members have been correctly classified, and all entitlements verified as owing to current and past employees have been calculated and paid, with a handful of claims now being finalised."