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The Fair Work Ombudsman’s audit of three popular food destinations has recovered more than $470,000 for over 600 workers, after the FWO found that 72% of the 243 businesses audited had breached workplace laws.

Fair Work inspectors visited businesses in Victoria Street in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond; Glebe Point Road in Glebe, Sydney; and Fortitude Valley in Brisbane – interviewing staff and checking businesses’ employment records.

The FWO deployed a range of compliance and enforcement tools against more than one hundred non-compliant businesses during the audit campaign, including:

  • – commencing legal action against the Meatball & Wine Bar Pty Ltd for allegedly underpaying 26 employees at its Richmond, Melbourne CBD and Collingwood restaurants;
  • – issuing 71 infringement notices (on-the-spot fines);
  • – issuing 63 formal cautions; and
  • – issuing seven compliance notices.

The most common breaches related to underpayment of workers base hourly rates (38%), with inadequate or non-existent employment records and pay slips another common trend (28%). Other common issues included non-provision of meal breaks, incorrectly classified workers and non-payment of overtime.

The non-compliance rate was highest at Victoria Street, with breaches identified at 81% (83 of 103) of businesses – compared to 70% (47 of 67) at Glebe Point Road and 60% (44 of 73) at Fortitude Valley.

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