What is wage theft?
Wage theft happens when your employer doesn’t pay you the minimum monetary amount, or allowances and entitlements that are outlined in the agreement or award that you work under.
It can happen by mistake, but in many instances, wage theft is a deliberate action taken by your boss to steal money that you are rightly and lawfully entitled to.
Wage theft is so prevalent in some industries, including retail, fast food and hospitality, that is now considered ‘the norm’.
The national minimum wage
From July 1 2020, the minimum wage is $19.84 an hour, or $753.80 for a 38-hour week.
Casual employees get at least a 25 per cent loading on top of that.
If you are being paid less than this, you are likely being ripped off, and need to seek expert assistance to recover what you are owed.
However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the increase will be implemented over time.
Group one awards will receive the increase from July 1 20202.
- social assistant workers
- teachers and child
- and other essential services
Group two awards will receive the increase from 1 November 2020.
- legal services
Group three awards will receive the increase from 1 February 2021.
- fast food
Click here to find out when your award will increase.
How do I know which award applies to my job?
Different jobs in different industries have different minimum pay rates and allowances and entitlements.
The specific wages and entitlements that you are eligible for can depend on your age, the state you live in, the industry you work in, your qualifications and your duties and responsibilities.
To check which award applies to your job, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website and use the Find Your Award Pay Calculator.
How we can help
Unfortunately, recovering stolen wages isn’t always easy, and can sometimes result in costly legal action – that’s why it is important to engage the services of an industrial relations professional like WAGETHEFT.net.au.
Our team of specialists are experts at investigating and recovering wage theft, and can assist you through every step of the process.
We will need you to tell us how much you have been paid – so pay slips, group certificates and bank statements all help.
We may need to request your pay records from your employer, and then our analysts will calculate the difference between what you were paid, and what you should have been paid.
We will then negotiate with your employer to recover what you are owed.
If they refuse, we then generally escalate the matter by taking formal legal action.
Penalties for employers
There can be substantial penalties for employers who don’t pay proper wages and entitlements.
They are up to $12,600 for individuals per contravention, and up to $63,000 for companies per contravention.
For serious cases, the penalties are even higher – $126,000 for individuals per contravention and $630,000 for companies per contravention.
In addition, your employer will be made to pay back the wages and entitlements that you are owed, plus interest.