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The Fair Work Ombudsman is targeting over 200 business in the Geelong region to ensure employers are complying with Australian employment laws.

Fair Work Inspectors launched surprise audits today on around 80 businesses in the university suburbs of Geelong, following intelligence that employers in the area were at risk of breaching workplace laws.

The workplace compliance checks, which commenced on Monday, targeted the suburbs in and surrounding the two Deakin University campuses (Waurn Ponds and Geelong Waterfront), and extend to Grovedale, Belmont, Newtown and other surrounding suburbs.

Inspectors have audited businesses from industries that typically hire high numbers of university students: fast food, restaurant, cafes, and retail.

In addition to the on-site audits, the Fair Work Ombudsman has requested records from approximately 150 other similar businesses in Geelong, raising the total overall audits to in excess of 200 employers.

Fair Work inspectors will check that employers are complying with their legal obligations. Including paying employees their lawful minimum wages and entitlements under the Fair Work Act, National Employment Standards and relevant Modern Awards.

Inspectors will also check compliance with record-keeping and pay-slip obligations.

The maximum penalties for failing to keep employee records or issue pay slips have doubled to $63,000 for a company and $12,600 for an individual, and the maximum penalty for knowingly making or keeping false or misleading employee records has tripled to $12,600 for an individual. Higher penalties also apply for serious contraventions under the new protecting vulnerable worker laws.

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