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$50,260 Worker Win!

Working Women’s Centre SA wins $33,500 in Pecuniary Penalties in the South Australian Employment Tribunal (SAET) .
Wan came to the Working Women’s Centre SA in July 2020 for legal assistance. She is a migrant worker and had been in Australia for five years at that time studying accounting.
Wan worked at Gratitude Massage as a receptionist on the weekends. She was told she needed an Australian Business Number (ABN) and that she would be an independent contractor.
She was paid $50 per day, and later $70 per day, plus a small percentage of commissions to work from 10am-7pm on Saturdays and Sundays. This equated to between $9 and $16 per hour which was well below the relevant Award rate.
The Working Women’s Centre SA assisted Wan to make an application to the SAET. Emma Johnson, Senior Lawyer, represented Wan at a hearing in October 2021.
It took almost two years, but in April 2022 the SAET found that Wan was a part-time employee, that she should have been paid at a Level 3 of the Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2020 and ordered the Respondent to pay $16,760 in outstanding wages, entitlements, superannuation and interest.
On 31 May 2022 the SAET further ordered that the Respondents were in breach of the Fair Work Act, for failing to pay the minimum rate of pay, failure to pay penalty rates, failure to provide breaks, failure to pay superannuation, failure to pay leave entitlements, failure to provide a Fair Work Information Statement, failure to make and keep employee records and failure to provide payslips.
The employer company was ordered to pay $22,000 in penalties and Wan’s boss was found personally liable for the breaches and ordered to pay $11,500.
The Judge found that the First and Second Respondents had exploited Wan as a vulnerable worker and that the underpayment was significant.
The total amount we recovered for Wan is $50,260.
This case is an excellent example of the work of the Working Women’s Centre and a vulnerable, migrant worker raising their rights to an employer.
Links to the decisions can be found here:
Wan于2020年7月来到南澳职业妇女中心寻求帮助。 她是一名移民工人,已经在澳大利亚生活了5年,学习会计。
Wan在Gratitude Massage工作,担任周末前台。 她被告知她需要一个ABN,她将是一个独立承包商。 她的工资是每天50澳元,后来是每天70澳元,加上周六和周日上午10点至晚上7点工作的少量佣金。每小时相当于9至16澳元,远远低于合法标准。
南澳职业妇女中心协助Wan向南澳就业法庭提出了申请。 劳资关系专员Emma Johnson在2021年10月的听证会上代表Wan。

With your help we can support women to fight against wage theft in South Australia

It’s not too late to donate for EOFY! Now is the time to vote with your dollars to support the change that you want to see in the world.

Any amount is appreciated. Whether it’s a once-off donation or you opt-in to be a regular donor. Here are some examples of how your hard-earned money can be put to great use:
$17 – Can cover basic search fees for a client when making a wage theft claim.
$25 – Can cover the cost of an interpreter, for 15 minutes, to assist with language barriers for our clients receiving crucial advice.
$50- Can cover the cost of one 30-minute consultation with an Industrial Officer providing personalised advice and information to a client.
$75 – Can cover the cost of filing an unfair dismissal claim (if our clients don’t qualify for having their fee waived).
All donations over $2 are tax-deductible, every dollar donated helps the movement.
with your help we can support women to fight against wage theft in south austalia

WWCSA X SA Unions Free Legal Advice clinic for workers in South Australia

We’re teaming up with SA Unions in hosting free legal advice clinics for workers!

You will have the opportunity to get free and confidential legal advice in relation to a wide range of workplace issues including wages and conditions, dismissals and sexual harassment. We will also discuss union membership and connect you with your union.

We have appointments available on:

  • Thursday, 23 June
  • Friday, 24 June
  • Wednesday 29 June


Appointments will be conducted in person at SA Unions or via the phone. Clients can choose to attend in person or participate by telephone.

To book an appointment call: (08) 8410 6499 or you can make an online inquiry here:

Any details that you provide will be kept confidential and we do not make contact with your employer without your consent.

SA Unions free legal clinic for workers in south australia

Upcoming outreach clinic 17 September: UniSA Legal Advice Clinic X WWCSA

Appointments will be held at the Legal Advice Clinic – City West Campus on:

  • * Friday, 17 September
This free industrial advice is available for all UniSA students and the general public living in South Australia.

To make an appointment please telephone WWC SA on 8410 6499 or complete the online form at:

We acknowledge that this event is on Kaurna land and we pay our respect to the traditional custodians of the land, past and present. Sovereignty was never ceded.
UniSA Legal Advice Clinic

Safe and Compliant Workplaces: education and advice clinic


03 Sep 2021
2pm – 5pm




69 Grote Street, Adelaide SA

Details on how to register here

Accessibility: Please note that this venue is not wheelchair accessible, there are volunteers who can assist with accessing the venue if required, but only upon request.

We acknowledge that this event is on Kaurna land and we pay our respect to the traditional custodians of the land, past and present. Sovereignty was never ceded.

Free legal & industrial advice clinic | UniSA Legal Advice Clinic X WWCSA

Do you need free, confidential legal & industrial advice about your rights at work?

Have you experienced:

Wage theft? Do you think you may not be being paid correctly?
Unfair dismissal? Have you been dismissed from a job recently?
Discrimination? Have you been treated badly at work due to race, gender or age?
Sexual harassment?
Sham contracting? Does your employer call you a contractor, however you may be an employee?

UniSA Legal Advice Clinic

SA Weekend: Underpaid workers fighting back in the courtroom

This interview was published by the Advertiser SA Weekend on July 31 2021

Read the full article on the Advertiser SA Weekend here.

The inside story of how thousands of Australians who have been the victim of wage theft are finally fighting back. Plus, the big corporate names dragged into the courtroom.

Xiao An was looking for a job. She had recently graduated from her marketing course at the University of South Australia and the Chinese ­national was keen to stay in Adelaide. Like many international students, Xiao An looked on the Adelaide BBS website. It’s a kind of Chinese-language marketplace where you can find houses to rent, cars to buy and where jobs are advertised.

“When I graduated I wanted to find a job and get some experience,” the now 21-year-old says. “I feel this is suitable for me and I applied.”

The job she found was in advertising and sales for a wine business based in the city. Xiao An, not her real name, was there for two months and was never paid. The ­excuses started early. It was the end of the financial year, she was told. The company was being restructured.

“They even showed me the screenshot of the bank account of the company, saying they did not have enough money to pay so I have to wait,” she says.

“I feel like I am constantly being frauded. The boss kept making unrealistic promises to me that I’ll be promoted, getting a high ­yearly salary.”

All the while, Xiao An was working five days a week, sometimes weekends as well.

“I had to work full-time, and even overtime during weekends in that toxic, competitive environment but nothing was paid. Sometimes after working, I cried all the way to home. It was so stressful,” she says.

The issue of workers being underpaid, or not paid at all, was thrust firmly into the spotlight in February when a video of an assault at the Fun Tea store in Chinatown went viral. The video showed a young worker at Fun Tea being slapped and kicked after complaining she was only being paid $10 an hour, less than half the wage the worker was entitled to. The ­national minimum wage is $20.33 an hour.

A man called Lei Guo has pleaded guilty to the assault and will be sentenced next month. Guo was said to be a friend of then Fun Tea director Jason Duan, who later appeared on a video with a Sydney-based YouTube user and admitted he had only paid the victim $10 an hour.

The assault of the young student caused immediate backlash and brought renewed focus on to a dark part of the national economy – the exploitation of young and vulnerable workers by those who employ them. Often they are international students on visas with no understanding of their rights, with poor English skills and little support.

The federal government’s Fair Work Ombudsman started an investigation into Chinatown’s restaurants and a preliminary report found “very high” non-­compliance levels.

That investigation is ongoing but in April, the Ombudsman Sandra Parker said: “Our intelligence indicates that Adelaide’s Chinatown precinct employs many workers on visas who may also have limited ­English skills, which can lead to vulnerability and exploitation.” It is expected the Ombudsman will file charges year end.

Part of the solution may be for universities to provide more information to its students when they arrive in the country to tell them what their rights are and what support is available to them.

Meng Liu came to Australia in 2018 to study social work at Flinders. She, too, was ripped off by an employer.

“The first month I was here, I realised that everyone around me was doing an underpaid job, like all the international students I knew,” Liu says. “At that stage I didn’t know that was illegal.



POSTPONED EVENT: Safe and Compliant Workplaces: education and advice clinic

The Working Women’s Centre in collaboration with Fair Go SA, will co-host an educational workshop on worker’s rights and the Fair Work Act.

This will be followed by a confidential (one to one) advice clinic for any workers who need free industrial advice about work.

Our workshop will cover topics including:

  • Workplace bullying
  • Discrimination
  • Sham contracting
  • Unfair Dismissal
  • Parental Leave
  • Workplace sexual harassment
  • Responding to domestic violence at work
  • Labour Exploitation

At the Confidential Industrial Advice Clinic you can:

  • Speak to an Industrial Officer who has a background in Employment law & qualifications in law
  • Ask questions
  • Get information and personalised advice about your workplace issues.
  • Book a further free appointment with the Working Women’s Centre Industrial Officers for a follow-up & further assistance.


23 Jul 2021
2pm – 5pm






69 Grote Street, Adelaide SA


translation avaible register for this event via we chat

If you cannot register for this event via the We Chat QR code, please email to register:

Accessibility: Please note that this venue is not wheelchair accessible, there are volunteers who can assist with accessing the venue if required, but only upon request.

We acknowledge that this event is on Kaurna land and we pay our respect to the traditional custodians of the land, past and present. Sovereignty was never ceded.

COVID-19 wrap: vaccination news, how young women are faring, and useful resources

This article was published by Croaky May 12 2021.

Read the full article on Croaky’s website here

Introduction by Croakey: The “shocking global disparity” in access to vaccines remains one of the biggest risks to ending the pandemic, the World Health Organization’s Director-General warned this week.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said high and upper-middle income countries, representing 53 percent of the world’s population, have received 83 percent of the world’s vaccines.

By contrast, low and lower-middle income countries account for 47 percent of the world’s population but have received just 17 percent of the world’s vaccines.

Speaking to a media briefing on 10 May, Dr Tedros cautioned against complacency as the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths plateau globally, notwithstanding rapidly increasing cases numbers and deaths in the South-East Asia region.

“Any decline is welcome, but we have been here before,” he said. “Over the past year, many countries have experienced a declining trend in cases and deaths, have relaxed public health and social measures too quickly, and individuals have let down their guard, only for those hard-won gains to be lost.”

The WHO Foundation has launched a “Together for India” appeal to raise funds to support WHO’s work in India, including the purchase of oxygen, personal protective equipment and medicines.

Dr Tedros said the spread of variants, increased social mixing, the relaxation of public health and social measures and inequitable vaccination are all driving transmission.

“My message to leaders is, use every tool at your disposal to drive transmission down, right now,” he said.

“Even if your country has a downward trend, now is the time to surge your capacities. Even in countries with the highest vaccination rates, public health capacities must be strengthened to prepare for the possibility of vaccine-evading variants, and for future emergencies.”

Meanwhile, public health researcher Alison Barrett details some of the latest research news on COVID vaccination and useful vaccination resources in the latest edition of the COVID-19 wrap, as well as reporting on the pandemic’s impact on women.

COVID-19 wrap: vaccination news, how young women are faring, and useful resources

Young women ‘disproportionately’ affected by coronavirus impact on jobs, SA survey finds

This article was published by ABC News Friday 30th April 5.47am 2021.

Read the full article on the ABC’s website here

A sample survey of South Australian women aged under 30 has revealed heightened anxiety and a lack of optimism about job prospects due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Almost 300 women aged under 30 were surveyed by the Working Women’s Centre SA between September 2020 to February 2021.

More than 70 per cent of respondents said they had become “more anxious, sad or depressed” due to the pandemic, and 44 per cent said they were “discouraged” about the prospect of finding work.

“The social and economic ramifications of COVID-19 have disproportionately affected young women compared to other demographics,” the report stated.

More than half of respondents found “their way of working disrupted” and more than a quarter “had their hours or pay reduced”.

Nearly half said they were “very worried or anxious” about money.

“Between the time that SA’s first COVID-19 restrictions entered force in March 2020 and January 2021 all-male jobs had recovered, while female jobs remained well below pre-pandemic levels,” the report stated, citing Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

“This is a stark demonstration of the vulnerability of female jobs to disruption.

Working Women’s Centre youth project officer Maddie Sarre said the findings represented “a snapshot” of how young women in SA continued to be affected by coronavirus and its ongoing economic effects.

“On the other hand, those that continued to work during the pandemic faced increased pressure, through increased workloads and stress in frontline sectors such as healthcare.

Young women 'disproportionately' affected by coronavirus impact on jobs, SA survey finds

Adelaide Fun Tea director claims he’s had death threats after brawl over alleged wage theft


A bubble tea shop owner says Chinese “gangsters” are looking for him, as new footage emerges of the moment his female worker was attacked.

The Working Women’s Centre SA Inc, representing the alleged victim and a 22-year-old woman who were both employees for almost six months, claims they earned between $10 and $12 an hour.

In the latest footage, the 20-year-old employee can be seen behind the counter when she exchanges words with a man, allegedly 39-year-old Gavin Guo, who leaves and then comes back to point his finger in her face.

The woman removes her apron and walks into the cafe area to speak with the man. She is escorted away by a colleague before returning with a number of other people.

Fun Tea director Jason Duan speaks to the group before Mr Guo walks over, allegedly assaulting the woman and sparking a violent brawl.


Police investigate break-in at Adelaide bubble tea shop at centre of assault charge


The Adelaide bubble tea shop at the centre of alleged wage theft and where two workers were allegedly assaulted has been broken into.

The Working Women’s Centre SA Inc i(WWCSA) is representing the alleged victim and another women, aged 20 and 22, who were both Fun Tea employees for almost six months.

The social services organisation claimed the women earned between $10 and $12 an hour as casual employees when the legal minimum rate in a restaurant is $25.51.

“International students are often the victims of wage theft in the workplace,” the WWCSA said.


Crowd gathers outside Fun Tea in Chinatown for the second time this week following an assault over alleged wage theft


About 100 people gathered near Star Dumplings at 11am led by Fair Go South Australia and the SA Labour Information Hub, two organisations formed by international students to inform other people of their rights in the workforce.

It was the second protest against wage theft and violence against workers in a week and followed the publication online of a shocking video, in which a female worker was assaulted at Fun Tea bubble tea store on Gouger St.

The assault victim claimed that moments before she was struck, she was inquiring about unpaid ages, through a statement from industrial rights advocacy group Working Women’s Centre SA, which is representing the woman, and another female who alleges she is also a victim of wage theft.


How to take action on: Wage theft & Violence in the workplace

The shocking video that many people saw earlier this week is unfortunately a familiar story of wage theft and gendered workplace violence that is common in our South Australian workplaces. Now that a spotlight has been put on the issue, we have the opportunity to change things for the better.

Will you join us and seize this moment, take action and make your voice heard?

How to take action on: Wage theft & Violence in the workplace

Protesters rally to support woman allegedly assaulted at Adelaide business

This article was published by ABC News 4th Feb 2021.

Read the full article on the ABC’s website here

Protesters have rallied outside of a cafe where a young woman was allegedly assaulted last week.

Footage of the incident, at Fun Tea in Adelaide’s CBD, went viral on social media and has sparked a conversation about alleged wage theft among the international student community.

It showed a verbal dispute between a man and a woman who makes claims about wage theft.

The man can be heard denying the claims.

Today, protesters claimed wage theft was a problem in businesses in Adelaide’s Chinatown district.

Jackie Chen, from the SA Labour Info Hub, said many people working within the district were paid less than $15 an hour, and some as low as $5 an hour.

“Especially with the background of workers, international students, they are not fluent in English and they don’t know how to find support,” he said.

“We urge the Australian Government to look into these issues.

“We must sort this out, it’s a disaster. It’s been going on for decades.”

He has organised another rally for Saturday to be held in Chinatown.

How to take action on: Wage theft & Violence in the workplace

The Fun Tea Assault Victims Reckon The Store’s Poorly Managed


“Our client(s) strongly reject Fun Tea’s statement that Mr Guo was not related to Fun Tea,” the statement reads.

“Mr Guo is a close friend of Mr Duan, the owner and manager or Fun Tea. The Fun Tea statement is misleading.”

On top of that, the alleged victims also claim – just like heaps of people online could tell from the Mandarin dialogue – that the incident did relate to pay.

“Our client entirely rejects any assertion that the assault was not in relation to a complaint about her pay,” the statement read.

“Our client was asking to be paid her wages for that night and the two weeks prior. This is clear from the video.”

Their lawyers also allege that “Mr Duan failed to provide a safe workplace by facilitating and participating in the workplace violence.”


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