The operators of restaurants, cafes and take away outlets in Sydney’s inner-city suburb of Newtown who are not paying proper wages and entitlements have been put on notice.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has announced it is conducting random checks on businesses in the area to ensure they are complying with workplace laws, including paying their staff proper wages and entitlements.
60 businesses to be audited
The Fair Work Ombudsman says it plans to audit at least 60 outlets along the King Street dining strip during the blitz after it received a number of anonymous complaints about wage theft.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the activity is part of a compliance and education campaign targeting the hospitality sector.
“Inspectors are speaking with King Street employers, managers and employees to check that workers are receiving their full wages and entitlements,” Ms Parker said.
“We are also reviewing records to ensure businesses are complying with important pay slip and record-keeping laws.
“Cheap eateries in busy precincts operate in a particularly competitive environment, with labour representing a significant cost.
“When low menu prices seem too good to be true, customers should stop and consider – are we paying enough to cover workers’ minimum wages?”
Targeted operations help tackle wage theft
Industrial relations advocate Miles Heffernan from WAGETHEFT.net.au welcomed the operation by the workplace watchdog.
“Targeted campaigns like this do have a role to play when it comes to tackling the scourge of wage theft,” he said.
“But the reality is, it is only a drip in the ocean – the Fair Work Ombudsman says it will check 60 businesses – but when you consider there are over 500,000 workers employed in the hospitality industry alone, they are really fighting a hopeless battle.”
Almost half of complaints come from hospitality
According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, 40 per cent of all anonymous complaints received by the agency come from the hospitality sector, which employs a large proportion of young or migrant workers.
The inner-west Sydney region, which includes Newtown, has the third highest rate of anonymous reports in New South Wales.
Many reports are coming from young workers (34 per cent) and visa holders (27 per cent).
“The Fair Work Ombudsman prioritises requests for assistance from vulnerable workers. We have a strong emphasis on ensuring young and migrants workers are aware of their rights and know how to seek help with workplace issues,” Ms Parker said.
A report on the campaign’s findings will be published once the activity is completed.
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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