CAFÉS and restaurants in Warrnambool are among workplaces to be audited to make sure they are paying staff their minimum entitlements.
The Fair Work Ombudsman is checking up to 1500 cafés, restaurants and catering businesses across Australia as part of a national education and compliance campaign.
Inspectors will check businesses are paying the correct hourly rates, shift loadings and penalty rates, maintaining appropriate records and providing pay slips.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said cafés, restaurants and caterers generated a large number of complaints.
She said they were part of the broader accommodation and food services sector that was consistently in the top three industries that generated complaints.
“If inspectors find minor or inadvertent contraventions, we will work with them to voluntarily rectify the issues and put systems in place to ensure they’re getting it right in the future,” Ms James said.
“In cases where a contravention is blatant, repeated, or employers are not willing to promptly resolve an issue, we may escalate the audit to a full investigation and call on powers to compel compliance.
“This can go right up to legal action in the Federal Circuit Court, where hefty penalties apply.
‘‘Only recently we saw a business in Tasmania fined almost $180,000 for underpaying 50 mostly foreign workers, demonstrating the seriousness with which the courts view breaches of workplace law.”
This is the second phase of a wider three-year campaign focusing on the hospitality industry.
Fair Work inspectors audited hundreds of accommodation providers, pubs, taverns and bars earlier this year and plan to focus on takeaway food operators in early 2014.