Fair Work Inspectors hit Sydney cheap-eats strip

24 November 2016

Fair Work Inspectors conducted surprise audits of restaurants, bars and cafes in Glebe Point Road, Sydney, last week to check businesses are complying with workplace laws.

More than 50 businesses on the strip were audited, following the Fair Work Ombudsman receiving intelligence and allegations from members of the public about non-compliance by employers in the popular cheap eats precinct.

The audits involve Fair Work Ombudsman inspectors assessing time-and-wage records to check businesses are paying employees their full lawful entitlements and complying with pay slip and record-keeping laws.

Inspectors also spoke with various business operators and their employees.

The inner-western Sydney suburb of Glebe is popular with city workers, students and backpackers due to the low prices charged in many restaurants, bars and cafes along Glebe Point Road.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says inspectors were keen to assess whether the low prices are due to efficiencies in business practices, as opposed to underpayment of minimum employee entitlements.

“With many businesses in the area operating seven days a weeks, we are focusing on ensuring employees are being paid applicable penalty rates for weekend and night work,” Ms James said.

“We also want to be proactive about checking vulnerable employees - including young, migrant and overseas workers – are receiving their full entitlements because we know they can be reluctant to complain and are sometimes not fully aware of their rights.”

Assessment of time-and-wages records obtained during the audits is ongoing.

A public report on the results of the campaign will be issued early next year.

Inspectors take a fair and flexible approach to assisting employers to voluntarily rectify non-compliance issues but enforcement action is considered in situations where contraventions are blatant or employers refuse to co-operate.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s “Anonymous Report” function allows the community to alert the agency to potential workplace issues at www.fairwork.gov.au/tipoff

“If someone suspects something isn’t right, but is unable or unwilling to get directly involved in resolving the issue, they can tell us about it using the tip-off function,’’ Ms James said.

Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Small business operators can ask for the priority Small Business Helpline. They also can use a suite of tools and resources on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website, including the Pay and Conditions Tool (PACT) which provides advice about pay, shift, leave and redundancy entitlements.

Follow Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James on Twitter @NatJamesFWO external-icon.png, the Fair Work Ombudsman @fairwork_gov_au External link icon or find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/fairwork.gov.au External link icon.

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Media inquiries:

Bryan Littlely, Assistant Director, Media
Mobile: 0447 692 007