Fair Work Inspectors will conduct audits of at least 1600 businesses in randomly selected urban and regional areas of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
The campaign will be conducted in two phases, with audits to be conducted in waves.
Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell said the first phase was already underway and the campaign would take approximately 12 months to complete.
“The retail, hair and beauty sectors have been selected for audit because they employ high numbers of workers, particularly young people and workers from migrant backgrounds,” he said.
“In addition, previous audits into hair and beauty businesses and the retail industry have found high levels of non-compliance.
“In 2013 the Fair Work Ombudsman released the results of a national hair and beauty campaign which identified an overall industry non-compliance rate of 55 per cent.
“Victoria recorded the highest rate of non-compliance with almost three quarters of salon operators audited not meeting their obligations under workplace laws,” Campbell said.
The retail industry is Australia’s second largest employer, and Campbell said a previous Fair Work Ombudsman national campaign saw $585 000 returned to 755 workers.
“Our 2012 report revealed that more than 40 per cent of the underpayments identified through the campaign were owed by NSW employers,” he said.
“This new hair, beauty and retail campaign will build on our previous work to reinforce the need for all workplace participants to proactively ensure they are meeting their obligations under Australian workplace laws.”