Following a workplace audit by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), dozens of liquor stores across New South Wales are in hot water for underpaying workers their minimum entitlements.
In most cases the underpayments were the result of ignorance rather than malice. The report said a lack of awareness of award provisions by employers was an issue, with employers often paying flat hourly rates that did not take into account penalties and loadings.
FWO checked the books of 178 liquor retailers throughout Sydney and regional NSW last year to assess compliance with federal workplace laws.
In its report released last week, FWO found just over half of the stores audited (56 per cent) were complying with the minimum entitlements.
However, 78 stores (44 per cent) were in contravention, through incorrect wages, penalty rates, pay-slips, or record-keeping requirements.
Some 45 businesses will now have to back pay 133 employees a total of $107,406.
In most cases the underpayments were for amounts of less than $1,500, although several individual businesses were required to rectify amounts of more than $10,000.
Fair Work Ombudsman, Natalie James, commented that the regulator is confident that the campaign will result in an increased awareness of wage requirements by employers in the liquor sector.