Wage theft is rife in Australia. Some of Australia’s biggest companies, including Woolworths, Wesfarmers the ABC, Qantas, Bunnings, even poor George Calombaris, have been caught underpaying workers.
What do they say when they are caught? It’s all the fault of the “complicated awards system”.
These are companies that can warehouse millions of products, fly thousands of people, run hundreds of offices, supermarkets, etc., and they can’t look at a free government website to find out what the award is? Liar and cheats we say!
So, what is the government doing about it?
Well, they are sending the Australian Federal Police out to raid unions, journalists and the ABC looking for whistleblowers, but there hasn’t been a peep out of Michaelia Cash, our minister for employment, about wage theft by employers.
Just “we’re sorry”. Well, “sorry” doesn’t cut it.
So, what do you do? How do you protect your wage if you are being paid under an award, or how do you protect your children if they work in the retail, hospitality, or many other awards-based industries. There are five easy things you can do, and a website you can visit:
- Check your pay rate with your manager.
- Keep track of the hours you have worked and maintain your own records.
- Check your super regularly – you can go to a myGov website, or you can check your private super to make sure it is being paid.
- Keep all of your pay slips and pay records.
- Join a union. The reality is that collective bargaining works. Nothing is perfect, but the union will fight for you.
Most importantly, here are two links which you can use to:
Here is a recent article from Jenna Price in the Sydney Morning Herald that outlines all of this in greater detail.
Martin Bullock Lawyers has a confession. Sometimes employers inadvertently underpay workers. It happens. One of our employees had a birthday (Happy Birthday Brianna!) and we forgot to increase her salary. We are not picking on small employers, but it is important that we get it right and there is no reason why we shouldn’t.
Remember, your staff is your biggest asset! Treat them well.
If you have any questions about employment law or contract law, then come see the best – Greg Martin or Jacqueline Wainwright of Martin Bullock Lawyers. Phone 02 9687 9322.