The Dainty Sichuan restaurant group is facing charges from the Fair Work Ombudsman for allegedly paying staff as little as $10 per hour, sometimes working more than 10 hours per shift, seven days straight.

Along with not being paid minimum hourly rates, staff were allegedly denied correct penalty rates for weekends, public holidays, late-night and overtime work, according to a story first reported by the Australian Financial Review.

The Ombudsman claims that $18,190 was underpaid to 17 staff at Dainty Sichuan and $12,805 was missing from the wages of 13 employees at Tina’s Noodle Kitchen. Almost $31,000 in wages was allegedly unpaid in a two-week period.

The companies have begun paying back wages owed.

Charges were filed in the Federal Circuit Court against the companies behind Dainty Sichuan in Melbourne’s CBD and Tina’s Noodle Kitchen in Box Hill. Owner-operator Ye Shao and accountant Yizhu Ding will also face charges. If convicted, Shao and Ding face costs of up to $10,800 per breach.

Shao’s restaurants were raided last year as part of a joint operation between Department of Immigration and Border Protection officers and Fair Work Ombudsmen inspectors.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle received $80,000 to his 2016 election campaign from the group, the largest single corporate donation in the last round of local government elections across the state, as reported by the Age in November. Mr Doyle declined to comment.

The group opened its first Sydney venue earlier this month. It's unknown if Sydney employees have been affected.

Broadsheet was unable to reach Mr Shao or Ms Ding at the time of publication.

For Melbourne’s latest, subscribe to the Broadsheet newsletter.