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Law Council of Australia


Unlawful underpayment of employees’ remuneration

The submission to the Senate Economics References Committee (Committee) regarding its inquiry into the causes, extent and effects of unlawful non-payment or underpayment of employees’ remuneration by employers and measures that can be taken to address the issue was prepared by the Law Council.

The Law Council notes that the Attorney-General’s Department (Department) is simultaneously conducting a number of consultations relevant to industrial relations issues, including potential improvements to protections of employees’ wages and entitlements.

The Law Council provided a submission to the Department on 28 October 2019 in response to the Consultation Paper titled Improving protections of employees’ wages and entitlements: further strengthening the civil compliance and enforcement framework.

The Law Council’s submission to the Committee draws from this earlier submission to the Department. The Law Council responds only to the following terms of reference:

a. the forms of and reasons for wage theft and whether it is regarded by some businesses as ‘a cost of doing business’;

b. the cost of wage and superannuation theft to the national economy;

c. the best means of identifying and uncovering wage and superannuation theft, including ensuring that those exposing wage/superannuation theft are adequately protected from adverse treatment;

d. whether extension of liability and supply chain measures should be introduced to drive improved compliance with wage and superannuation-related laws; and

e. the most effective means of recovering unpaid entitlements and deterring wage and superannuation theft, including changes to the existing legal framework that would assist with recovery and deterrence.

You can read the full submission below.


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