Employers to face 10 years jail, hefty fines under proposed laws

The measures will be complemented by $32.4 million to beef up the resources of the Fair Work Ombudsman, which will be responsible for investigating offences. Under the changes, the regulator can exercise its discretion not to pursue criminal proceedings if the business enters into a co-operation agreement.

Investigations by this masthead in recent years have exposed endemic underpayment of workers in the franchising industry, including 7-Eleven, Caltex, Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, Retail Food Group. In 2020, 7-Eleven paid back $173 million to more than 4000 workers.


The hospitality sector has also been dogged with issues, with high-end restaurants owned by Neil Perry’s Rockpool Dining Group and Celebrity chef George Calombaris among those that have been embroiled in underpayment scandals.

The government’s decision to include an exemption from prosecution for employers found to have inadvertently unpaid workers is expected to go some way to assuaging concerns from the Business Council of Australia and peak bodies, which have argued that underpayments are often unintentional errors and due to Australia’s complex employment laws.

However, while the BCA has previously backed criminalising wage theft for “clear, deliberate and systematic underpayment” it raised concerns during the consultation process that the broader package of changes proposed would “add to rather than reduce that level of complexity”.

Ai Group has previously opposed introducing criminal penalties for the underpayment of wages, arguing it would disadvantage workers “by significantly delaying civil recovery of underpayments while criminal proceedings are taking place”.

The wage theft provisions are one of four key components of the proposed bill, which includes new measures to allow casuals to convert to permanent workers, safeguards for “gig economy” workers, and “same job, same pay” protections for labour-hire workers.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Ai Group this week called for the bill as a whole to be blocked.

Manager of Opposition Business Paul Fletcher accused Labor of seeking to rush the changes through the parliament, calling the bill a “direct attack on the efficiency and flexibility of the digital economy.”

“Millions of Australians have enthusiastically embraced digital platforms due to their convenience and innovative offerings. Labor wants to return to a rigid 1950s-style economy because that is what union bosses want,” Fletcher said on Saturday.

Cut through the noise of federal politics with news, views and expert analysis. Subscribers can sign up to our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here.

Source link

Denial of responsibility! galaxyconcerns is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.