Employers in Sydney and surrounds have been warned to brace themselves for workplace audits, as the Fair Work Ombudsman prepares to audit “at least” 200 businesses.
The Ombudsman (FWO) said it would be targeting “regional hotspots of non-compliance” amid a high volume of workplace disputes involving young workers.
It said the Wollondilly Shire south-west of Sydney has the highest proportion of non-compliance tip-offs, and second-highest volume of requests for assistance, of any in NSW.
Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains are also over-represented.
As such, the FWO revealed it will audit “at least” 200 businesses across the area, including in Katoomba, Penrith, Picton and Springwood.
These audits check for wage payments to employees and the keeping of proper financial records.
Businesses of a “cross-section of industries” will be targeted, including retail, manufacturing, construction and food services – all of which are heavily reliant on industry awards and penalty rates.
The FWO has previously singled out the hospitality sector for poor rates of compliance, meaning cafes, restaurants and other food service businesses are likely to face scrutiny.
“Proactive campaigns are an important tool to educate employers about their workplace obligations. Inspectors will provide advice to businesses to help them comply with the law,” Ombudsman Sandra Parker said.
“Businesses should be warned that non-compliance can lead to action ranging from formal cautions and on-the-spot fines to litigation for the most serious breaches.
“As in all our campaigns, we are keen to work closely with key stakeholders in the region in building a culture of compliance.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.