A Fair Work investigation has found that dozens of workers in Canberra have been underpaid more than $22,000, including staff at two eateries recently bought by new owners who were unaware they weren’t paying the correct rates.

In two cases, local eateries had changed hands and the new owners continued to pay staff the same wages.

The previous owners had been underpaying their employees and the new employers failed to check on the applicable minimum entitlements.

As a result, the new owners were liable for a combined back-payment bill of more than $13,000 for 32 of their staff.

The largest underpayment occurred at a fast food outlet in Belconnen where 10 employees were short-changed $8,700. Most of the employees were paid flat rates between $14.50 and $17.98 an hour but should have been paid up to $22.12 an hour.

At a Yarralumla restaurant, 22 employees were underpaid a total of $5,200 as a result of being underpaid minimum hourly rates and weekend penalty rates.

On Wednesday, the Fair Work Ombudsman revealed that $22,698 had recently been recovered for 27 workers at fast-food outlets in the ACT who were found to have been underpaid.

The underpayments were identified as part of a national campaign targeting more than 565 takeaway food shops. A total of $582,410 was recouped for 929 employees across Australia.


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