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Australia
Governments | June NFP 2022
21 June 2022 | Minutes to read: < 1

Governments | June NFP 2022

By William Buck

Report wages underpayment released

A senate committee released on 30 March a 182-page report on what it calls ‘shameful’ underpayment.

Systemic, Sustained and Shameful Unlawful Underpayment of Employees’ Remuneration makes 19 recommendations, including to criminalise Australian wage theft.

Key recommendations are:

  • Prioritise amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 to criminalise wage theft in Australia.
  • Amend the act to increase civil penalties for wage theft, make it an offence for employers to advertise employment with a rate of pay less than the national minimum wage, and list parties and individuals that take part in wage theft, including those that knowingly or recklessly create a wage-theft environment (including franchisors, advisors, head contractors and other third-party participants in supply chains), and
  • Improve protection for employees who engage in lawful activity to prevent wage theft, including joining a union, pursuing underpayments through established processes, publicly speaking out against poor workplace practices, exercising workplace rights, and engaging in industrial activity.

The committee also recommended that the Australian Securities & Investments Commission improve enforcement action and enhance director disqualifications from managing a company where companies use superannuation guarantee payments and wages owed to trade while otherwise insolvent.

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