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Fighting For Australian Workers Who Have Had Their Wages Stolen By Their Boss
Wage Theft Affects One In Five Workers According To New Audit

Wage theft affects one in five workers according to new audit

Wage theft affects one in five workers according to the Fair Work Ombudsman’s latest audit.

The troubling results support the proposition that wage theft is endemic in many Australian industries.

Wage theft affects one in five workers

Fair Work inspectors recently raided more than 1300 businesses in towns in three states.

They included Shepparton in Victoria, Shoalhaven in New South Wales and Wide Bay and Ipswich in Queensland.

Employers back-paid nearly 1000 workers more than $580,000 as a result of the Fair Work compliance campaign.

Inspectors found widespread wage theft in a number of different businesses, including accommodation, hospitality and retail during the audits.

Wage theft common

Fair Work said 22 percent of all audited business failed to pay their workers correctly.

Meanwhile, 15 percent failed to keep proper employment records or failed to provide pay slips, as required by law.

The regulator recovered an average of $600 for each underpaid employee as a result of the audits.

The most common breaches included underpayment of minimum hourly rates and underpayment of overtime and penalty rates.

In addition to recovering wages, inspectors also issued 39 cautions and 27 on-the-spot fines.

Fair Work warned businesses that they will face harsher penalties for any further non-compliance.

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Criminal sanctions

Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan said the results of the compliance campaign is further evidence that wage theft is widespread.

“Current monetary penalties are clearly not working as a deterrent against wage theft,” he said.

“Therefore, governments need to introduce criminal sanctions so greedy bosses end up with criminal convictions and possibly even jail time.”

Mr Heffernan previously presented a detailed submission to the Queensland government’s wage theft inquiry.

In it, he made a number of recommendations, including the introduction of criminal penalties for reckless or deliberate wage theft.

Meanwhile, Fair Work has promised to revisit the businesses involved in the recent audits and will take serious enforcement action against those who continue to breach workplace laws.

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