The audits are part of the FWO's commitment to ensuring compliance in the fast food, restaurants and café sector
After receiving concerning requests for assistance from employees, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has began conducting surprise audits of Korean fried chicken franchise Gami Chicken and Beer.
The FWO has received over 20 enquiries and anonymous reports from Gami Chicken employees variously claiming underpayments, including of penalty rates, and failure to provide pay slips.
The inspectors have targeted 19 stores across Melbourne, Sydney and Perth owned by both franchisees and the franchisor to check their compliance with Australia’s workplace laws.
Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the surprise audits are part of its commitment to ensuring compliance in the fast food, restaurants and café sector.
“Fair Work Inspectors are speaking with Gami Chicken employers, managers and employees to check that workers are receiving their full wages and entitlements,” said Parker.
“We will review pay records at 19 Melbourne, Sydney and Perth stores to ensure they are complying with important pay slip laws.”
Parker added that like many people working in the fast food sector, Gami Chicken and Beer staff are potentially vulnerable due to their age, cultural background or visa status.
“It is important for us to talk with these workers on the ground so they are aware of their workplace rights and that we can help them,” said Parker.
“Australia’s minimum pay rates are not negotiable and employers in the fast food, restaurant and café sector should actively check that they are paying their staff correctly.
“Franchisors must also take responsibility for ensuring that their franchisees are complying with workplace laws.”
The hospitality industry was again overrepresented in contacts to the Fair Work Ombudsman last financial year, with 18% of workplace disputes recorded, a third of court actions and almost 40% of all anonymous reports, despite representing just seven per cent of the workforce. More than $4 million was recovered by the FWO for workers from fast food, restaurant and café businesses.
“We are committed to improving workplace compliance in the hospitality industry, and have a range of free tools to help small businesses understand their obligations. Businesses can call our Small Business Helpline, access our Pay and Conditions Tool, set up a My account profile or complete an Online Learning Course,” said Parker.
There will be a report published on the campaign’s findings once the investigations are completed.