A number of workers in Melbourne’s western suburbs have been back-paid almost $55,000 following an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The largest amount paid back was to four young casual waitresses at a caf in the Wintergardens Town Centre shopping complex at Taylors Lakes, who were underpaid $13,000 between June 2013 and October 2014.

After buying the caf, the new owner continued to pay the staff members flat rates, as their previous employer had, neglecting to check that the wage rates were appropriate.

The workers were paid $16 an hour, below the minimum that they should have received under the Restaurant Industry Award.

As part of Fair Work’s investigation in Melbourne’s western suburbs, two male and two female employees at another eatery, this time in Highpoint shopping complex at Maribyrnong have been back-paid $7,586, while a 19 year old at a Maribyrnong restaurant was reimbursed the $5,900 she was owed after being underpaid her minimum hourly rates and overtime rates.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said all employees were reimbursed without the need for further enforcement action after inspectors contacted the employers and explained their obligations under workplace laws.

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