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What is wage theft?

Wage theft happens when your employer doesn’t pay you the minimum monetary amount, or entitlements and allowances outlined in the agreement or award that you work under.

It also happens when your boss doesn’t pay your superannuation.

It can happen by mistake, but in lots of instances, wage theft is deliberate theft by your boss to steal money that you are rightly and lawfully entitled to.


Different forms of wage theft

There are many different ways employers steal wages and entitlements from their employees.

They include:

  • 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

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 percent loading on top of that.


 Wage theft now a crime

Wage theft is now a crime in Queensland and Victoria with similar legislation proposed in Western Australia.

As a result, our team at Support can take immediate action in the Industrial Magistrates Court to recover unpaid wages of up to $20,000 for our clients.

We can also take action in other courts for amounts higher than that.


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LAST UPDATED: February 2022

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