The Fair Work Ombudsman is making surprise inspections in Newcastle this week to ensure businesses are complying to workplace regulations.
Around 50 food outlets in Cameron Park, Broadmeadow, Hamilton, Islington, Maryland, Mayfield and Merewether will receive a visit from Fair Work inspectors this week, who will be speaking to owners and managers as well as employees.
The blitz comes after the regulator received tip-offs from a number of sources regarding underpayments.
“Inspectors in Newcastle are knocking on doors this week, and they will speak with employees and hold employers to account if they are not meeting their obligations,” says Sandra Parker, Fair Work Ombudsman.
“Employers should be aware – we won’t hesitate to take enforcement action where appropriate.
“Visa holder workers can be especially at risk of exploitation as they’re often unfamiliar with Australian workplace laws or reluctant to ask questions to their employer.”
The audit is part of a nationwide program by the Ombudsman, with inspectors paying close attention to records, insufficient hourly rates, late or non-payment of wages, pay slips not being provided, falsified time and wage records and the non-payment of overtime or time off in lieu.
The Ombudsman secured a staggering $1.66 million in penalties from court orders and recovered $13 million for underpaid employees, of which 26 per cent were migrant workers.