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The Fair Work Ombudsman is targeting 20 businesses this week as part of a surprise blitz of food outlets in Canberra’s north and Queanbeyan.

Inspectors will be attending businesses to confirm if workers are being paid correctly and receiving the right entitlements, speaking to owners, managers, and employees.

The 20 venues were selected based on intelligence such as tip-offs, having a history of underpaying staff, and employing vulnerable workers such a visa holders or young people.

“We won’t hesitate to take enforcement action if needed,” says Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth.

“These inspections are part of a national food precincts program where we’ve often found that low-cost dining comes at the expense of workers’ lawful wages.”

The program has recently recovered more than $680,000 in unpaid wages for workers in Melbourne’s inner south and inner west food precincts.

“We urge workers with concerns about wages and entitlements to reach out to us – including anonymously if preferred,” says Booth.

“Employers should access our free tools and resources to ensure they’re meeting their obligations, or contact the FWO directly for free advice.”