Workers at two Wollongong businesses have received $4521 in back pay following a campaign by the Fair Work Ombudsman, which audited specialist food and liquor retailers.
As the businesses had taken part in the campaign voluntarily the Ombudsman did not release their names.
The campaign aimed to educate employers about how to comply with workplace laws and focused on meat, fish, poultry, fruit and vegetable, liquor and other specialist food stores in NSW and the ACT.
In total 269 businesses were audited, 114 were found to be in breach of workplace laws and more than $180,000 in wages was back-paid to 247 employees.
Businesses in Canberra, Sydney, Albury, Batemans Bay, Griffith, Merimbula, Newcastle and Wollongong were found to have underpaid workers amounts ranging from $16 to more than $13,000.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said while it was disappointing that so many breaches related to underpayments, it was good to see employers were willing to fix their mistakes.
‘‘A key part of the role of the Fair Work Ombudsman is to educate and help businesses, particularly those small businesses which don’t have the benefit of in-house specialist HR staff, about how to comply with workplace laws, and that’s what we did throughout this campaign – we worked with these employers to help them get it right,’’ she said.
Ms James said a range of free resources was available at fairwork.gov.au to help employers comply with workplace laws.
This includes record-keeping, payslip templates and tools for determining correct rates of pay and entitlements for employees.
The sector was selected for proactive auditing after the Fair Work Ombudsman received more than 120 complaints from NSW workers in the 2011-2012 financial year.
Underpayments were identified in 67per cent of cases.
Workers or employers seeking information and advice can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman via the website fairwork.gov.au, or by calling the Fair Work Infoline on 131394.