Last night the Victorian State Government passed Australia’s first ever wage theft criminal laws, making wage theft a crime.
This historic law making, to make the deliberate underpayment of workers wage’s a criminal offence is an incredible achievement.
Bosses who knowingly exploit their employees can now face up to 10 years in jail and businesses can be fined up to almost $1 million dollars under the new criminal laws.
Of course, wage theft isn’t just a Victorian issue. This is an issue across Australia and pertinent to workers in South Australia. Last year, The McKell Institute found that:
“Wage theft impacts up to 170,000 South Australian workers and collectively costs more than $500 million a year.”
That is $500 million dollars in just ONE YEAR. This has got to stop.
Here is in SA, there is work being done by workers, unions, community organisations and politicians from all corners, to address this huge issue. The SA Parliament is conducting a parliamentary enquiry into wage theft with the Committee being led by The Hon Irene Pnevmatikos and The Hon Tammy Franks Greens MLC.
The Working Women’s Centre alongside The Young Workers Legal Service made a submission to this inquiry explaining how this issue impacts women & young workers within a matrix of issues such as discrimination, precarious work & unpaid superannuation.
Read the Submissions made to the South Australia Parliament Inquiry into Wage Theft in South Australia.
Read the full report from The McKell Institute.