More than 60 of Victoria’s 7-Eleven stores will be audited following random audits of convenience stores in both Melbourne and Sydney.
Letters have been sent to 63 7-Eleven stores asking franchisees to supply time-and-wages sheets and other employment records.
Fair Work inspectors and the 7-Eleven franchisor will jointly scrutinise the records to check staff are being paid correctly.
The audits will also monitor levels of compliance with record-keeping obligations under federal workplace relations laws.
The workplace watchdog says the campaign may be widened to include every 7-Eleven store in the state if issues of concern are identified.
The ombudsman has also flagged possible surprise night-time visits and interviews with both franchisees and staff.
Fair Work Ombudsman executive director Michael Campbell says issues identified by inspectors included workers not being paid for some hours worked, non-payment of weekend and night penalty rates, and non-compliance with record-keeping and payslip obligations.
Five 7-Eleven stores in Melbourne’s CBD have been asked to reimburse 88 workers $112,000 and a sixth store has been instructed to credit almost 1000 hours of annual leave to 12 staff who should have been accruing the entitlement.
“To the credit of the franchisor of Victoria’s 7-Eleven stores, it shares our concerns with the issues identified and agreed to assist us in this extensive state-wide campaign,” said Campbell.
He says workplace inspectors will work to secure back-payments for workers found to have been underpaid and provide education and assistance to 7-Eleven franchisees to help them meet their obligations under workplace laws.
“A significant number of 7-Eleven workers such as young people, foreign students and migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds, are vulnerable to being underpaid and exploited because they are often not aware of their workplace rights or are reluctant to complain,” said Campbell.
The 7-Eleven audits will start this month and be conducted over several months.