Australia seeks to criminalise “wage theft” from employers

Australia is planning new laws that allow for criminal penalties against businesses that underpay their staff or avoid statutory retirement benefits.
By: | July 29, 2019
Topics: Australia | News

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is looking to implement laws that penalise employers who exploit workers.  This comes after a company whose directors include celebrity chef George Calombaris was fined for underpaying staff $7.8 million over several years.

Mr Morrison confirmed this during parliamentary question time on July 24.

Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter – who is also the Attorney-General – said this move would send a strong signal to those employers who exploit vulnerable employees.

Mr Porter pointed out that the new laws would protect workers, as well as law-abiding Australian employers from being undercut by dishonest competitors.

The minister will seek the views of unions and employers over the legislation. But will face heated opinions from employer groups who cite that this proposed legislation will stifle investment, jobs growth, and entrepreneurship.