Fast food workers left scrambling after Xmas payroll error

Some fast food workers have been left scrambling to afford basic essentials after a payroll error.

Unite Union says an estimated 3000 workers had pay missing over the Christmas break, and Restaurant Brands - which owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Carl's Junior - may have broken the law.  

Grabbing fast food can be a popular summer snack, but over the holidays workers at some of our best-known restaurants struggled to get by.

"All my phone bills, like insurance and all this kind of stuff went overdue," one KFC employee told Newshub.

Workers at several popular chains didn't receive the correct pay for three weeks. The pay for extra hours worked didn't go through, and the pay for one week was delayed.

The employee, who wishes to remain anonymous, says she's $700 out of pocket - and that's taken a toll.

"I'm already going through depression and shit, and I couldn't sleep for four nights. It has been emotionally disturbing me, and financially, all this kind of stuff. It's a lot."

Unite Union says at least 3000 workers were affected, and in some cases workers were short as much as $300 a week.

National Secretary Gerard Hehir says Restaurant Brands, the company that owns those fast food chains, left its staff in the dark.

"RBL didn't actually communicate directly with its own employees," he told Newshub. "We sent out an email, people were relying on us to find out what was going on."

He says the company may have broken the law.

"Deducting pay from people without their permission or notification is also potentially a breach of the Wages Protection Act."

Restaurant Brands said in a statement the issues with its payroll system over the Christmas holiday have now been resolved, and the outstanding amounts were paid to all staff last week. But it says it's still working through two unrelated payroll issues it plans to fix as soon as possible.

The worker Newshub spoke to says they're still waiting to receive the pay they're owed.

The union says it plans to meet with Restaurant Brands to sort out any outstanding payments, and discuss their ongoing concerns about paying and communicating with staff.