A wage theft blitz by the Fair Work Ombudsman has recovered $684,000 for more than one thousand underpaid workers in Melbourne.
The affected employees worked in various outlets in the city’s food precincts.
The regulator issued a number of Compliance Notices and on-the-spot fines as a result of the audits.
Wage theft blitz recovers underpayments for Melbourne workers
Fair Work investigated 84 businesses across Albert Park, Balaclava, Brighton, Elwood, Port Melbourne, Prahran, South Yarra, St Kilda and also Windsor.
The regulator targeted outlets with a history of wage theft or non-compliance with the regulator.
Inspectors also investigated businesses employing vulnerable migrant workers.
Inspectors found 86 percent of businesses had breached workplace laws: 69 had underpaid their workers and 24 failed to provide pay slips or keep proper records.
- 52 businesses failed to pay proper penalty rates;
- 51 businesses failed to pay minimum wages including casual loading; and
- 17 businesses failed to keep proper wage and time records.
Meanwhile, Fair Work found one business in St Kilda owed 170 workers a staggering $83,272.
NEXT READ Fast food
In response to the breaches, inspectors issued Compliance Notices to 68 businesses, and as a result, recovered $684,543 for 1,004 employees.
Fair Work also issued 32 Infringement Notices for pay slip and record-keeping breaches, resulting in $54,721 in fines paid.
The regulator continues to investigate two businesses.
Hospitality rife with wage theft
Meanwhile, industrial advocate Miles Heffernan said the hospitality sector is rife with wage theft.
“People who work in cafes and restaurants and also take-away venues are constantly ripped off by unscrupulous workers,” he said.
“And the figures from this latest wage theft blitz prove it.”
Mr Heffernan said it is frustrating that most of the businesses investigated by Fair Work were found to be in breach of workplace laws.
“Think about it – 71 of 84 businesses audited had been underpaying their staff – that’s most of them – affecting hundreds of workers – and that is simply not good enough,” he said.
Mr Heffernan advised any worker who is not being paid their proper wages and entitlements to seek urgent expert advice.
“We know wage theft laws intimately and we also have extensive experience recovering every last cent owed to our clients,” he said.
To contact our team at WAGETHEFT.net.au, please call
To connect with us, please follow us on