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Canberra Eateries in Trouble (again) for Underpaying Workers

Just weeks after a horror story involving a Canberra restaurant causing an epidemic by poisoning over 150 people on its opening night, it appears there’s more bad news for Canberra’s eateries.

An article appearing in The Canberra Times today has revealed the results of an extensive Fairwork investigation that shows most ACT restaurants are breaching workplace laws.  Gungahlin and Belconnen restaurants fared worst where three-quarters of audited employers were in contravention.

Read on to see the stats and what Fairwork found!


Canberra Eateries in Trouble (again) for Underpaying Workers

This is by no means the first time Canberra’s eateries have been caught out breaching staffing related laws. Canberra business owners have been warned, fined and prosecuted as part of Fairwork audits,  one business owner was fined over $18,000 as recently as March this year for underpaying staff and other related non-compliant behavior.


Why Canberra?

Fairwork systematically conducts audits all around Australia in a variety of industries to spot check compliance – but it also conducts special audits based on the number of complaints received.   In this case the recent campaign was sparked by a large number of complaints from the city’s restaurant staff.   Given the numbers and types of complaints Fairwork decided a specific campaign was called for.

However, it’s not just Canberra eateries in the firing line.  Eateries around Australia have generally not faired well when scrutinised as part of Fairwork audits.


The Low Down!

Fair Work inspectors assessed 179 restaurants and cafes in Canberra and found 105 – or 59 per cent – were in breach of their obligations. Of those in breach, 48 per cent were not paying employees the correct wages, 32 per cent had technical contraventions for record-keeping or payslips, and the balance had both.

A total of 482 underpaid Canberra employees recovered almost $280,000 as a result of the investigations. One company had to pay back $26,000 to six casual employees wrongly paid part-time rates.

Restaurants and cafes in the Woden/Weston Creek region had the best rate of compliance at 55 per cent, with the Inner South region on 53 per cent and the Inner North on 38 per cent. Fifty-nine per cent of audited Belconnen eateries had a form of monetary breach, the highest of any area.


The Assessment…

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell said he was extremely concerned by the level of breaches found in the 17-month audit, but pleased all employers had corrected their underpayments and taken advice from inspectors.

Read the full Canberra Times article.


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Is your business compliant?

Make sure that you are paying your staff correctly!  If you don’t you could be facing back pay, penalties and court action. No business wants to face an unexpected legal action or a large bill that can seriously disrupt cash-flow!




We will provide a full pay conditions analysis for your business stores to ensure you are compliant.

This will help you identify:

  • Inconsistencies against the Pharmacy Industry Award such as underpaying or overpaying staff.
  • Where you might be able to save on labour costs across the organisation.

We will provide you with an assessment and report that details the following:

  • Analysis of your current pay conditions and where these conditions differ from the Industry Award.
  • Areas where you could be saving on labour costs.
  • Advice on applicable solutions to help you better control / understand labour costs across the organisation.


The “Full Pay Conditions Analysis” is valued at over $650 but you only pay $197!
It’s a small price to pay to be sure!

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