George Calombaris is back in the hot seat for underpaying workers in his restaurant empire to the huge amount of $7.83 million – but if you think this story is unusual in Australia you’re dead wrong.

According to a survey conducted by Ascender, being underpaid or paid late is something that one in five Aussie workers experience, not just as a once-off either. This will happen for an individual worker an average of three times per year. In these cases, they were underpaid by an average of 18%.

If you’ve ever worked hospitality for a decent amount of time (I’m right there with you buddy), then you’re probably nodding along to this like ‘duh’.

This all adds up to a potential $1.8 billion in lost wages per year. That is a buttload of money.

“Most businesses are not doing this on purpose,” reckons Ascender’s General Manager Inna Wahlberg, “With many of these errors being caused by accident or having outdated information in their systems.”

It’s a view shared by cofounder and CEO of Employment HeroBen Thompson who stated: “The unfortunate reality is that Australia’s Modern Award wage system is so complex that it is inevitable that employers will continue to make mistakes even with the very best of intentions.”

The takeaway? Absolutely check every payslip because accident or not, there’s every chance you’re not being paid what you should. Here’s a handy guide I prepared earlier so you know what to look for:

The worst part to me though – if there is a worst part – is that Ascender found one in seven employees don’t have the option of checking if they were paid correctly because their employer doesn’t give them a payslip. Just FYI, not giving a payslip is 100% illegal in Australia. I find it hard to believe that was an accident.

Image: Getty Images / Mail Today