Close to $800,000 has been given to sushi workers after the Fair Work Ombudsman audited 45 businesses in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory.
Fair Work inspectors found almost 90 per cent of audited businesses were non-compliant, discovering underpayments across 37 businesses. It was also found 29 businesses had breached record-keeping and payslip laws.
Inspectors recovered $746,203 for 397 workers related to underpayments of minimum ordinary hourly rates, casual loading, penalty rates and overtime.
Inspectors issued nine infringement notices (total fines of $17,850), 15 formal cautions and six compliance notices.
The Fair Work Ombudsman commenced legal action against six sushi businesses with more serious alleged breaches of workplace laws.
In two of these matters, the court ordered combined penalties of $136,250 following the underpayment of young Korean workers and use of false records at outlets in Ballina and Brisbane. These matters involved further recoveries of $17,635 for five workers.
Three matters involving the alleged underpayments of employees, including some young and migrant workers, across sushi businesses in Newcastle and the NSW Central Coast and Canberra remain before the court.
“Sushi eateries often employ vulnerable workers including young workers, migrant visa holders and those from non-English-speaking backgrounds,” says Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker.
“We were particularly disappointed with the high level of record-keeping breaches discovered in the activity and will conduct follow-up checks at non-compliant sushi outlet.”
Image credit: Make Sushi