The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured more than half a million dollars for underpaid Hobart workers.

The Ombudsman recovered a total of $582,450 in wages for 376 staff after conducting unannounced audits on ‘cheap eats’ food precincts in the city.

“Our intelligence-led activities have hit food precincts around the country because they commonly employ a high proportion of young and migrant workers who can be vulnerable to exploitation,” says Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker.

A total of 45 businesses were part of the audits, which resulted in almost 80 per cent failing to comply with workplace laws.

32 businesses underpaid their workers, with 24 failing to meet pay slip and record-keeping requirements.

In addition, 21 businesses failed to pay casual loading.

Back-pay amounts ranged from $868 for three employees to $150,905 for 55 workers.

22 infringement notices were issued, resulting in $30,030 in fines.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has also taken legal action against the operators of the Salamanca Wharf Cafe, Welvin & Kevin Pty Ltd, company director Zhi Zhi Tan and manager Qingxiang Meng for failing to comply with a compliance notice to calculate and back-pay underpayments.

It is also alleged the company failed to make and keep company records.

The Ombudsman is also considering litigation in relation to another business.

Image credit: Mapping Megan