The operator of a Perth take-away food outlet has been ordered to back-pay an employee who was not paid at all during a three-month probation period.

The employer told the Fair Work Ombudsman he thought it was acceptable to not pay a kitchen hand while they were on probation.

He was ordered to back-pay the kitchen hand almost $2600 after Fair Work Inspectors explained that a three-month unpaid probationary period with no guarantee of ongoing employment was a breach of the Fair Work Act.

The company was one of more than 120 businesses randomly audited in Perth, Adelaide and Darwin as part of a campaign focussing on cafes, restaurants and take-away food shops.

The kitchen hand was one of 269 employees throughout the cities who had been reimbursed a total of $222,305 after inspectors found they had been short-changed.

In its statement of findings, the Fair Work Ombudsman said 24 of the 43 employers audited in Perth were compliant.

Of the 19 businesses that were non-compliant, 12 had underpaid 66 staff a total of $62,128.

Inspectors found most non-compliant employers were unfamiliar with the changes in pay rates effective from July, 2012.

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