1500 cafes, restaurants and caterers across Australia facing workplace audits
20 August 2013
The Fair Work Ombudsman is auditing up to 1500 cafes, restaurants and
catering businesses across Australia as part of a national education and
Fair Work Inspectors will check businesses are paying employees their minimum
entitlements, including hourly rates, shift loadings and penalty rates,
maintaining appropriate records and providing pay slips.
Fair Work Ombudsman, Natalie James, said cafes, restaurants and caterers
generate a large number of complaints and, as part of the broader accommodation
and food services sector is consistently in the top three industries that
"This sector employs many young and foreign workers who can be vulnerable if
they are not fully aware of their workplace rights. They can often be reluctant
to complain or how to approach the issue if there's a concern about their
entitlements," Ms James said.
"While it's important we ensure workers are receiving their full
entitlements, we'll also work with industry bodies and individual businesses to
ensure employers are aware of their obligations and meet them."
As part of the campaign, the Fair Work Ombudsman has written to more than
36,000 employers in the sector to highlight the free resources at
www.fairwork.gov.au/hospitality to help them understand and comply with
Audits will be conducted right across Australia, with a focus on locations
NSW/ACT: Sydney, Canberra, Albury, Broken Hill, Byron Bay,
Dubbo, Forster, Gosford, Goulburn, Leeton, Mudgee, Murwillumbah, Newcastle,
Nimbin, Nowra, Singleton, Tamworth, Taree, Wollongong and Wyong.
VIC: Melbourne including Brunswick, Camberwell, Carlton,
Fitzroy, Footscray, Glen Waverley, Noble Park, North Melbourne and Springvale,
and regional areas including Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Gippsland, Shepparton
QLD: Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Ayr, Bowen, Bundaberg,
Caboolture, Gold Coast, Emerald, Gympie, Hamilton Island, Hervey Bay, Ipswich,
Mackay, Port Douglas, Stanthorpe, Sunshine Coast and Townsville.
WA: Perth and Fremantle, as well as Albany, Broome, Bunbury,
Busselton, Collie, Denmark, Dunsborough, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Mandurah and
SA: Adelaide, Hahndorf and Mount Barker.
NT: Alice Springs and Darwin.
TAS: Hobart and Launceston.
This is the second phase of a wider three-year Fair Work Ombudsman 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 take-away food operators
in early 2014.
The Fair Work Ombudsman conducted a similar campaign in the hospitality
industry in 2008, auditing 664 employers nationally.
That campaign found that more than one-third (36%) of employers weren't
meeting their obligations under workplace law and recovered $1.6 million in
back-pay for 4,679 underpaid employees nationally.
Ms James says these campaigns provide an opportunity for employers to improve
their understanding of, and compliance with, workplace laws.
"We have excellent resources available to help businesses in the hospitality
industry, along with tools that employees can use to check they're receiving
everything they should," Ms James said.
"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.
"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."
Employers or employees seeking assistance should
visit www.fairwork.gov.au or contact the Fair Work
Infoline on 13 13 94. A free interpreter service is available
on 13 14 50.
The website has a number of tools and resources, including PayCheck Plus and
an Award Finder, to help business-owners calculate the correct pay for their
Free documentation is also available online for employers to use when hiring,
managing and dismissing staff, including letters of engagement and probation,
timesheet and pay slip templates, leave application forms and a self-audit check
Penny Rowe, Media & Stakeholder
0457 924 146
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