More than $1.2 million has been recovered for 1,351 workers in the cafe, restaurant and fast food sectors.

Fair Work inspectors targeted precincts in Melbourne and Brisbane and revisited businesses that had previously breached workplace laws.

A total of 49 food businesses in Melbourne’s Degrave’s Street and Hardware Lane were investigated along with 44 businesses in Brisbane’s West End.

$194,365 was recovered for 186 Melbourne workers and $309,073 for Brisbane workers.

The underpayments varied from $30 to as much as $65,215.

A further 171 businesses were investigated, resulting in $709,289 recovered for 796 workers.

It was found there was a 71 per cent non-compliance rate, with the most common infringements including failure to pay penalty rates and underpayments of the minimum hourly wage.

“Competitive dining strips commonly rely on workers who are young, students or visa holders. We will continue to protect such vulnerable employees by holding employers to account,” says Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker.

The Fair Work Ombudsman issued 11 contravention letters, 10 formal cautions, 16 infringement notices and 85 compliance notices after the blitz.

A number of businesses remain under investigation and could face legal proceedings.

Image credit: Real Commercial

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