Almost half (45%) of Australia’s hospitality workers are aged between 15 and 24 years1 . In 2016–17, 44% of the hospitality workers we assisted to resolve workplace disputes were aged under 26 and 31% were visa holders.
Despite the hospitality industry employing around 7% of Australia’s workforce2 , it accounted for the highest number (17%) of disputes we assisted with. It was also the industry with the highest number of anonymous reports received (36%), infringement notices issued (39%) and court actions commenced (27%).
We continue to receive a steady number of enquiries from the industry, with 9% of phone and online enquiries relating to accommodation and food services—compared with 10% in 2015–16.
The above data, supported by media reports, helped us target our activities to regions and sectors with potential issues. This included:
- Engaging with the Victoria Street Traders Association to provide education on workplace rights and obligations and conducting unannounced visits to restaurants in popular cheap eats precincts in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Compliance activity targeting these precincts will continue in 2017–18 due to the high levels of non-compliance found and the large numbers of vulnerable workers affected.
- Audits of 34 randomly selected Pizza Hut franchisees in response to media reports alleging exploitation and a pattern of underpayments by the chain. Between June 2010 and January 2016 we recovered $91 000 for workers. The recent audits recovered $12 086 for 23 Pizza Hut delivery drivers, some of whom had been misclassified as independent contractors and/or asked to cover fuel and vehicle operating costs. As a result of this activity, three Pizza Hut franchisees have entered into enforceable undertakings, and 11 compliance notices, 11 infringement notices and 17 formal letters of caution have also been issued. We are also currently in discussions with Pizza Hut about what it might do to address what appears to be widespread non-compliance by its franchisees. Our report on this work generated media coverage in 20 newspapers and over 80 websites, and more than 280 radio and television broadcasts.