RETAIL workers at hardware stores all over regional Queensland will share in nearly $140,000 in back pay after a Fair Work Ombudsman crackdown.
The FWO released the findings of a massive campaign of 368 audits of Queensland businesses.
It found that 139 businesses, or 38%, were not meeting workplace laws.
Of those found to be contravening various laws, 76 were under-paying 191 workers a total of $139,7000, while 63 had minor record-keeping and pay slip contraventions.
Businesses that had underpaid staff were at locations including Brisbane, Beaudesert, Bundaberg, Cairns, Childers, Gatton, Gold Coast, Mackay, Nambour, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba and Townsville.
Hardware stores in the Rockhampton and Mackay regions were the worst performers, with more than half of the outlets having to back-pay staff.
Acting Ombudsman Michael Campbell said inspectors were working to rectify the problems and ensure businesses "get it right in the future".
"While the contravention rate was concerning, it is pleasing that all employers voluntarily back-paid employees all money owed without the need for further action," he said.
He said the campaign, which focused on small and mainly independent hardware retailers, was prompted by a high number of complaints by Queensland workers.