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Fair Work Inspectors are making surprise visits to restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets in popular food precincts between the Gold Coast’s Southport and Mermaid Beach to check that workers are being paid correctly.

The regulator is acting after receiving intelligence from a range of sources, indicating potential breaches by businesses in the area.

Fair Work Inspectors will assess employment records for compliance with workplace laws. And hold business owners and managers to acccount if they are not meeting their lawful obligations. This includes taking enforcement action where appropriate.

Fast food, restaurant and café matters accounted for 50% of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s new litigations in 2019-20. The Fair Work Ombudsman secured court ordered penalties of $1,877,162 from 13 litigation decisions in this sector. Visa holder workers were involved in 44% of all litigations last year.

Earlier this year, the Fair Work Ombudsman released its findings of audits targeting popular food precincts in Melbourne and Brisbane, as well as of broader national food and retail sector audits, which recovered a total of $1,212,727 in unpaid wages for 1351 workers. The rate of non-compliance was 88% in Brisbane and 84 per cent in Melbourne.