Adelaide Chinatown eateries face workplace law compliance audits


The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) conducted surprise visits to restaurants, cafés and fast food outlets in Adelaide’s Chinatown precinct last week.

At least 60 businesses were slated to undergo audits with Fair Work Inspectors getting in touch with business owners, managers, and employees to determine if the workers are being paid correctly.

The audits come as a response to reports, including requests made to the FWO for assistance, that some outlets in the precinct may be breaching workplace laws.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the audits included a focus on employers that have sponsored visa holders.

“Our intelligence indicates that Adelaide’s Chinatown precinct employs many workers on visas who may also have limited English skills, which can lead to vulnerability and exploitation,” Parker said.

Parker also reiterated FWO’s commitment to uphold the welfare of vulnerable employees such as visa holders and young workers and to improve compliance in dining establishments.

“All employees should be receiving their lawful entitlements regardless of nationality and visa status,” Parker said. “We will hold employers to account if they are not meeting their lawful obligations and consider enforcement action where appropriate. We will also educate workers about their workplace rights.”

The move is part of a targeted campaign that has seen the FWO already audit food precincts in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, and Perth. The office also recently released the findings of its audits in Hobart, with more than $580,000 in unpaid wages recovered for 376 workers.

Fast food, restaurant and café matters accounted for 50 per cent of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s new litigations in 2019-20. The FWO also secured court-ordered penalties of $1,877,162 from 13 litigation decisions.