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Spotlight on retail hospitality businesses

Fair Work Ombudsman inspectors are targeting local retailers and hospitality businesses to ensure they are paying correct wage rates.

This week, six inspectors will visit up to 100 employers selected at random in Alice Springs.

Employers will be asked to open their books, allowing inspectors to view their records, with a particular emphasis on minimum pay rates.

Inspectors will particularly focus on minimum hourly rates, penalty rates for weekends and public holidays, loadings for shift work and overtime.

The retail and hospitality industries employ large numbers of young workers and overseas workers, including backpackers.

Employers who do not have records available on-site will be asked to supply them for review within two weeks. 

In 2012, the Fair Work Ombudsman audited 11 hospitality businesses in Alice Springs and found five of them had underpaid 136 employees almost $50,000.

Last year, another hospitality business was found to have short-changed seven of its employees more than $2300.

In the 2012-13 financial year, the Fair Work Ombudsman recovered more than $200,000 for over 300 workers in the Northern Territory who were found to have been underpaid.

Nationally, more than $24 million was recovered for over 17,000 employees.

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