2nd April 2020
The Federal Government has announced that new legislation is currently being drafted which aims to introduce a new offence and penalty regime, with potential criminal sanctions for the most serious forms of misconduct. It is expected that the new legislation will only criminalise underpayment found to be “clear, deliberate and systemic”, as recommended last year by the Migrant Workers Taskforce.
The recent spate of very public self-reported wage underpayments by businesses has resulted in increased scrutiny into “wage theft”. The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), for example, has prioritised issues of wage underpayment and non-compliance with awards and the National Employment Standards (NES).
On 12 November 2019, the Senate also approved a wide-ranging inquiry into wage and superannuation “theft” by employers. The report, due in June 2020, is likely to make recommendations for reform.
The Wage Theft Bill 2020 is yet to be enacted (made into legislation). AMIC will inform you once this has occurred.
As required by law, as well as for your protection in the event of a wages dispute, you need to ensure that you are complying with the minimum requirements with respect to wage records and payslips.