August 13, 2019

Criminalising Wage Theft – Don’t Get Caught Out

As business owners we wear many different hats and have lots of responsibilities. One of these is to make sure that our employees are being paid correctly.

There have been many reported cases of wage theft recently, with celebrity chef, George Colombaris of Masterchef fame being the latest business exposed with a staggering $7.8 million in underpayments.

The Federal Government is now looking to criminalise wage theft, which could mean jail time for employers who deliberately exploit workers.

So what can you do to avoid ending up in hot water?

Here’s our top 6 tips to keep your business out of the headlines.

  • Be aware of the National minimum wage and National Employment Standards.
  • Fully understand the award (if any) that applies to your industry. If you are not sure, seek advice.
  • Record your staff’s Date of Birth’s and set a reminder to review their pay rates each year.
  • Awards are generally updated from 1 July, so set a reminder to ensure you are compliant each year.
  • Record your staff’s work anniversaries and set reminders to review pay rates as they reach classification milestones.
  • Do not assume that your payroll officer is getting it right. Question them on the controls they have in place and their understanding of the award system that applies to your business.

With Single Touch Payroll now in place it has never been easier to determine whether employees have been underpaid. This also extends to unpaid super.

So make sure you take care when paying employees and remember to seek advice when required.

Daniel Breheny

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