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, and that includes compulsory superannuation.
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.
Our Australian employment law experts at Industrial Relations Claims have extensive experience recovering unpaid wages and entitlements for our clients.
The national minimum wage
As of 1 July 2021, the national minimum wage is $20.33 per hour or $772.60 for a 38-hour week.
Casual employees get at least a 25 per cent loading on top of that.
However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the increase will be delayed for some awards.
Retail workers will not receive the increase until 1 September 2021.
Aviation, tourism and fitness workers will not receive the increase until 1 November 2021.
Different forms of wage theft
There are many different ways employers steal wages and entitlements from their employees.
- paying less than the minimum hourly rate
- failure to pay penalty rates, overtime and allowances
- taking inappropriate deductions from wages
- refusing to allow leave
- demanding wages be paid back in “cash-back” schemes
- paying employees in cash “off the books”
- unpaid work experience or internships
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 depends 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.
Unpaid superannuation can cost workers big time.
Not only do you not receive the money from the regular contribution, but you also miss out on the interest that money would have made by being in your super account.
This can make an enormous difference to the balance of your superannuation account by the time that you retire.
Your boss has to pay super contributions if you are:
- 18 years old or over and are paid at least $450 before tax in salary or wages in a calendar month;
- under 18 years old, work more than 30 hours per week and are paid at least $450 in salary or wages before tax in a calendar month.
It doesn’t matter if you work part time, full time or casual.
You may also be eligible for super if you are a contractor working and being paid primarily for labour.
If you are covered by a modern award, we can help you recover unpaid super by taking immediate legal action on your behalf.
In addition, we can also help you recover any interest or gains on your super that you have missed out on.
How we can help
Industrial Relations Claims are experts at investigating, calculating, and recovering unpaid wages, and can assist you through every step of the process.
We will request 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.
Our intimate understanding of modern awards, including overtime, penalty rates, loadings, allowances and entitlements ensures that we will uncover every last cent that you are owed.
We will then negotiate with your employer to recover your unpaid wages.
If necessary, we will escalate the matter by taking formal legal action in the Federal Court or Federal Circuit Court.
LAST UPDATED: July 2021
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