The Fair Work Ombudsman is making surprise inspections of food outlets in Adelaide’s west this week to check workers are getting the right pay and entitlements.
About 35 businesses face investigations across Adelaide’s western suburbs including in Bowden, Croydon, Allenby Gardens, Woodville, Grange and Flinders Park, among others.
Fair Work Inspectors are speaking with business owners, managers and employees on the ground, and requesting records.
The regulator is acting after receiving intelligence from a range of sources, including anonymous reports, indicating potential underpayments of employees in the food precincts in the area. Most of the eateries are ‘cheap eats’ venues.
Businesses were selected for investigation based on FWO intelligence which includes indicators of possible non-compliance, such as tip-offs to the FWO, if they had a history with the FWO, or if they employed vulnerable workers such as visa holders or young workers.
Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth said protecting vulnerable workers and improving compliance in the fast food, restaurant and café sector were priorities for the regulator.
“Inspectors are on the ground in Adelaide this week speaking with employees and holding employers to account if they are not meeting their obligations. We won’t hesitate to take enforcement action if needed,” Ms Booth said.
“These inspections are part of a national food precincts program where we’ve often found the low cost of dining comes at the expense of workers’ lawful entitlements.”
“We know this sector engages many young workers and visa holders who can be vulnerable, as they are often unaware of their workplace rights and unwilling to speak up,” Ms Booth said.
“We urge workers with concerns about wages and entitlements to reach out to us – including anonymously if preferred. Employers should access our free tools and resources to ensure they’re meeting their obligations, or contact the FWO directly for free advice.”
Inspectors are on alert for unlawfully low flat rates of pay; unpaid penalty rates; undocumented ‘cash in hand’ or ‘off the books’ arrangements; non-existent or inaccurate pay slips; deliberately falsified time and wage records; non-payment of wages, unpaid hours of work including unlawful unpaid trials; inadequate breaks; and adverse action such as being treated unfairly for raising workplace issues.
The inspections are part of a national program that has recently recovered more than $680,000 in unpaid wages for workers in Melbourne’s inner south and inner west food precincts, and has previously targeted eateries in Melbourne’s Degraves Street and Hardware Lane, Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Hobart, Launceston, Darwin, the Gold Coast, Perth, Newcastle, south-east Melbourne and most recently Noosa on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
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