Willard pays employees after payroll error

More than $2,500 was dispersed among 32 current and former employees of The Willard restaurant after finding an error in the payroll system.

The Franklin restaurant had an audit conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor this summer after changing ownership, owner Tony Priola said. Department of labor officials would not say why the audit was done.

The audit said that food runners — or people who take food from the kitchen to customers’ tables — were not paid the minimum wage, according to the investigation report from the department of labor.

Instead of food runners making the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, the Willard was paying them $6 per hour. The investigation looked at payroll stubs from May 2014 to May 2015.

But what the payroll system did not note was that food runners also were getting tips during each shift, Priola said. So even though their hourly wage was $6 per hour, they would be making above the minimum wage once tips were added in, he said.

“It looks like they were making below minimum wage,” Priola said. “We didn’t know that we had to record all tips.”

To account for the $1.25 per hour loss between the $6 per hour pay to the minimum wage, 32 former and current employees were paid back wages, Priola said. The group split $2,549, based on their payroll records, Priola said.