The Fair Work Ombudsman has recovered $471,904 for 616 workers after auditing three food destinations in Richmond (Melbourne), Glebe (Sydney) and Fortitude Valley (Brisbane).

The Ombudsman found 72 per cent of the 243 businesses breached workplace laws after inter interviewing staff and checking businesses’ employment records.

The Ombudsman deployed a range of compliance and enforcement tools against more than 100 non-compliant businesses during the audit campaign, issuing 71 infringement notices (on-the-spot fines); 63 formal cautions and seven compliance notices.

Legal action was also commenced against the Meatball & Wine Bar Pty Ltd for allegedly underpaying 26 employees at its Richmond, Melbourne CBD and Collingwood restaurants.

Underpayment of workers base hourly rates (38%) and inadequate or non-existent employment records and pay slips another common trend (28%) were the most common issues along with non-provision of meal breaks, incorrectly classified workers and non-payment of overtime.

“While disappointed by the high levels of non-compliance uncovered in the sample of businesses audited, we are not surprised,” says Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James.

“This is an industry-wide problem and it needs an industry-wide response. The FWO is engaging with leaders in this sector, asking them to step up and work with us to develop an integrated approach to turning around this sector.”

The Ombudsman also revealed one in 10 disputes resolved by the FWO involved a restaurant, café or take away food outlet, with nearly one-third taken to court.

Image credit: Broadsheet



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