Wage theft rife in Adelaide's Chinatown, Fair Work Ombudsman says after spot checks

(ABC News)

The nation's fair work watchdog says it has detected concerning levels of underpayment and penalty rates in Adelaide's Chinatown precinct this week.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker told ABC Radio Adelaide inspectors had so far visited about 40 out of 60 restaurants, cafes and fast-food outlets across Chinatown and the Adelaide Central Market.

"Unfortunately, we're finding really high levels of non-compliance, we’re finding flat rates of pay not being paid, failure to provide awards provisions, weekend penalty rates not being paid," she said.

"We'll be taking some compliance action there and we've got more to come."

The watchdog initiated the audits after concerns were raised by a number of sources, including through its anonymous report tool.

Ms Parker said it was too early to provide precise figures on the proportion of businesses found to be breaching their obligations.

"We've done audits across Australia in what we call these 'cheap eat' [outlets] and we've recovered more than half-a-million dollars in unpaid wages already, and that's not including Adelaide, so we expect to recover quite a lot through our audits here."


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