The Fair Work Ombudsman is making surprise inspections of food outlets in Newcastle this week to check workers are getting the right pay and entitlements.
Businesses face investigations across suburbs including Broadmeadow, Cameron Park, Hamilton, Islington, Maryland, Mayfield and Merewether among others.
Fair Work Inspectors will audit business owners, managers and employees on the ground, and request records.
Inspectors are on alert for issues including insufficient hourly rates; late or non-payment of wages; payslips not being provided or being inaccurate; deliberately falsified time and wage records; and the non-payment of overtime or time off in lieu.
The audits are part of a national program that has previously targeted eateries in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Launceston, Darwin, the Gold Coast and Perth.
Inspections have previously uncovered high levels of non-compliance nationwide.
In the fast food, restaurant and café sector last year the Fair Work Ombudsman secured court-ordered penalties of $1.66 million from litigations and recovered more than $13 million for underpaid employees.
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