The Victorian Government has proceeded with the Wage Theft Bill, introducing new laws making it a criminal offence for deliberate underpayment of employees.
The criminal offences stated under the Bill include Employers who dishonestly withhold wages, superannuation or other employee entitlements, who falsify employee entitlements, such as payroll records, or who dishonestly fail to keep employment records. These Employers will face fines of up to $198,264 for individuals, $991,320 for companies and up to 10 years jail.
The Wage Inspectorate of Victoria will be established under the legislation, a statutory authority empowered to investigate and prosecute wage theft offences.
Protection for Employers who make honest mistakes or that exercise best practice in paying wages and employee entitlements will not be found guilty of wage theft offences under the proposed laws.
State Attorney-General Jill Hennessy said, “This problem is systematic – that’s why our laws will apply beyond wages and include allowances, gratuities, superannuation and other accruals such as leave, as well as ensuring directors and officers are held to account.”
Minister Pallas said the existing laws have failed to protect workers. “These laws and the new inspectorate body will hold employers accountable – workers should never be put in a situation where they need to make a complaint just to be paid properly.”
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.
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This article is current as at 2:10pm on 23rd March 2020.