A restaurant in Castle Hill is among 16 Sydney restaurants facing further investigation for potentially underpaying wages.
The Fair Work Ombudsman conducted spot-audits at 21 city and inner-suburban restaurants which employ about 150 mostly migrant workers after being tipped off about the possibility of underpaid staff.
The 16 restaurants facing further investigation have been ordered to supply the Fair Work Ombudsman with their staff records by March 1 after failing to have them available on-site.
Four restaurants were handed on the spot fines of $550 for breaches including failing to provide staff with payslips within one working day of payment.
Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson said detailed investigations would follow once the restaurants provided their records.
“It’s a legal requirement that employers maintain appropriate records of staff, hours worked and payments made and that they provide those records to Fair Work Ombudsman Inspectors when requested,” Mr Wilson said.
“The fact that in these visits, 16 restaurants could not provide these records gives rise to concern about possible breaches of workplace laws, such as underpayment of base wages, penalty and public holiday rates and casual loadings.
In one case a waitress was being paid $10 and hour - well below the national minimum of $15.96 an hour.
The predominantly Japanese and Korean restaurants were located in the CBD, Crows Nest, The Rocks, Potts Point, Newtown, Haymarket, Randwick, Chatswood, Maroubra, Castle Hill and Surry Hills.
“These unannounced visits reflect the particular concern of the Fair Work Ombudsman about the exploitation of migrant workers,” Mr Wilson said.
“Recently arrived migrants may not always be fully aware of their legal entitlements in the workplace and can often be reluctant to complain.