The Fair Work Ombudsman is encouraging both employers and employees to check the pay rates and entitlements that apply over the Christmas and New Year season.
"Whether you are an employer gearing up for a busy festive trading period, or an employee working through the holidays, it’s important you are aware of your workplace rights and obligations," said Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James.
She said underpayment of penalty rates can occur over the holiday period if employers aren’t aware of their workplace obligations.
"Unfortunately, this can result in hefty bills for back-payment of wages down the track – bills that employers were not budgeting for.”
James encouraged young people taking their first job over the summer holidays to visit the Fair Work website to ensure their pay rates are correct.
"One of the best defences for young people against being treated unfairly at work is an awareness of their workplace rights," she said.
This year has seen quite a number of hospitality operators forced to back-pay employees after neglecting to pay correct penalty rate entitlements. These include:
- A Cairns restaurant, required to back pay staff $24,300
- A caf located in the regional Victorian town of Cobram, ordered to backpay 11 of its staff a total of $25,600
- A Sydney restaurant, ordered to back pay an employee $51,158 in underpayments
- A Hobart caf, required to backpay four workers almost $20,000
- A Sydney CBD caf, ordered to reimburse three Korean caf workers just under $40,000