A new law to criminalise wage theft


While the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) now governs much of what takes place in private sector workplaces, there are a series of exemptions where State law is left to operate.

But the laws in NSW are poorly developed and have not kept up with contemporary need - a good example is child labour laws.

In the past, NSW legislated to protect young workers from the effects of WorkChoices, but those laws are now out of date and do not provide the protection young workers need today. The revelations of widespread exploitation of young workers from around NSW confirm the need for further action.

It is clear there is a need for new wage theft laws to combat systematic, widespread or blatant under and non-payment of wages and other employment benefits.

The 7-Eleven wages fraud scandal exposed by the ABC’s 4 Corners and Fairfax in late 2015, has now spread with leading businesses and household names Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza’s, Caltex and United Petroleum8 all being caught out underpaying workers - and not isolated examples but on a grand, even systematic scale.

That's why an elected NSW Labor government will introduce a new wage theft law to address systematic, ongoing and widespread failure to pay money and other employment conditions to young workers.

The new law will place criminal penalties, including fines and the possibility of gaol for up to 14 years, in the NSW Crimes Act for individuals who are found to be purposefully taking part in systematic, ongoing and widespread failure to pay money and other employment entitlements.