The Fair Work Ombudsman has recovered $121,574 in wages for 144 underpaid workers after investigating employers in Launceston’s food precincts.
Fair Work Inspectors investigated 31 businesses across nine suburbs and nearby towns in and around Launceston. They found 77 per cent of businesses had breached workplace laws.
Businesses were selected for surprise inspections based on their risk of breaching workplace laws. At-risk businesses had a history of non-compliance with the FWO, had been the subject of anonymous tip-offs, or employed vulnerable visa holders.
Of the 24 businesses found to be in breach, 23 had underpaid their workers and seven had failed to meet pay slip and record-keeping requirements.
The most common breaches found were the failure to pay penalty rates (19 businesses), followed by underpayment of the minimum hourly rate of pay (18 businesses) and the failure to pay correct leave allowances (seven businesses).
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the inspections were part of a national program that has targeted food precincts in Hobart, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, the Gold Coast, Perth, Adelaide and Darwin and recovered more than $2 million for workers.
“Uncovering high levels of non-compliance in Launceston’s fast food, restaurant and café sector, as the FWO has nationwide, is disappointing. Employers can’t pick and choose which wage laws they follow and those doing the wrong thing are being found out,” Ms Parker said.
“The Fair Work Ombudsman will continue to prioritise improving compliance in this sector and protecting the rights of vulnerable workers, including visa holders and the young. Employers can use our free tools and resources if they need assistance meeting their obligations. Workers with concerns about their pay or entitlement should come forward for help.”
The largest recovery from one business was $39,432 for 26 casual or full-time employees who had been underpaid their minimum wages and overtime, late night, weekend and public holiday penalties.