INVESTIGATION: A Fair Work Ombudsman audit of 209 Wide Bay businesses has resulted in a recovery of $80,785 in unpaid wages.
INVESTIGATION: A Fair Work Ombudsman audit of 209 Wide Bay businesses has resulted in a recovery of $80,785 in unpaid wages. Contributed

Workers ripped off $80k: Fair Work targets Bundy employers

A FAIR Work Ombudsman audit of 209 Wide Bay businesses has resulted in the recovery of $80,785 in unpaid wages.

The Wide Bay region was one of several audited across Australia, where widespread non-compliance with Australia's workplace laws was found.

Industries within the accommodation, retail sector and hospitality industry were of particular focus.

Inspectors found 22 per cent of the audited businesses nationally failed to pay their employees correctly, with 15 per cent in breach of non-monetary obligations by not providing proper payslips or keeping proper employment records.

Six per cent also failed to pay their employees correctly while meeting their non-monetary obligations.

The audit recovered an average of about $600 per underpaid employee, with the most common breach of workplace laws being underpayment of the minimum hourly rate.

Inspectors also uncovered underpayment of overtime and penalty rates.

Fair Work Ombudsman spokeswoman Sandra Parker said the regulator targeted regions based on tip-offs from employees.

"Fair Work inspectors targeted specific regions after employees contacted us for help, many of whom could be vulnerable to workplace exploitation due to their youth or visa status,” Ms Parker said.

"It is unacceptable that almost half of the businesses we visited were simply unaware of their obligations under workplace laws and were not paying the lawful minimum hourly wage.

"The FWO will revisit these businesses as part of our ongoing national proactive compliance monitoring programs.”

Ms Parker said in addition to recovering employees' lost wages, inspectors issued 39 formal cautions warning employers about the consequences of continued non-compliance. They also issued 27 on-the-spot fines, which involve penalties of $5960, for breaches of pay slip or record requirements.