Brisbane’s popular West End food precinct is the latest area to be targeted by the Fair Work Ombudsman to check if businesses are paying their workers proper wages and entitlements.
Inspectors will conduct surprise audits of 50 cafes, bars, restaurants and take away outlets after receiving more than 100 anonymous reports from employees in the area who claimed they were being underpaid.
The third most complained about suburb in the country
The anonymous reports suggest that many West End workers are being underpaid their minimum hourly rates of pay as outlined in their award.
Other reports allege that employees are not being paid overtime, weekend penalty rates and other special allowances.
According to the Ombudsman, the high number of complaints represent 33 per cent of all reports about businesses in the area, which is disproportionately high considering only 12.3 per cent of employees in the region work in the food services industry.
The level of anonymous reports made about businesses in the West End area makes it the third most complained about suburb in the country.
Ombudsman won’t hesitate to take court action
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said her agency won’t hesitate to take court action if necessary.
“The Fair Work Ombudsman is cracking down on underpayments in the hospitality industry and we urge employers to check they are paying staff correctly before we come knocking,” she said.
“If eateries in the West End are breaking the law, we will help to recover the wages and entitlements owed to staff.
“We will also consider what enforcement action is necessary, including court action.”
Enforcement activity welcomed
Miles Heffernan, Litigation Director at WAGETHEFT.net.au welcomed the surprise audits.
“It is encouraging to see the regulator being proactive and ready to take enforcement action where necessary,” he said.
“Since Ms Parker has taken over as the Fair Work Ombudsman, she has put a greater emphasis on enforcement instead of education, and that is exactly what is needed to tackle the scourge of wage theft.”
If you have not received your proper wages and entitlements, or are considering legal action to recover stolen wages, we can help.
Please call our specialist team at WAGETHEFT.net.au on
1300 1 THEFT (1300 184 338)
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