Wage inspections have uncovered nearly $350,000 in underpayments for hospitality workers, as part of a 12 month compliance campaign by industrial inspectors at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.
A total of $348,890 in underpayments was identified for 369 employees from 49 cafe and restaurant businesses in the state industrial relations system. A large number of businesses also failed to keep the required employment records.
These results indicate high levels of non-compliance with WA employment laws in this industry.
As part of the compliance campaign, industrial inspectors made unannounced visits to the cafes and restaurants, inspecting employment records and speaking with employees on the premises.
Private Sector Labour Relations Executive Director Lorraine Field today said that some employers had a ‘business model’ of underpaying employees.
“Of course not every business that underpays does so intentionally, but there appears to be a systemic problem in some cafes and restaurants where they are underpaying their employees,” Ms Field said.
“It is particularly concerning that a number of businesses continued to underpay employees, even after industrial inspectors found them to be underpaying.
“While we understand many cafes and restaurants are doing it tough, particularly in the wake of COVID-19 restrictions, complying with employment laws is not optional. Industrial inspectors will be continuing to target high-risk sectors.”
The evaluation report for the cafe and restaurant compliance campaign is available at www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/restaurants.
Information on employer obligations under state employment laws is available at www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/wageline or by calling Wageline on 1300 655 266.
The WA Government wage theft website at www.wagetheft.wa.gov.au assists Western Australian workers with how to seek help with resolving an underpayment issue or report wage theft anonymously.