CCIQ Update

In the last sitting before the election, the Palaszczuk Government yesterday passed legislation making it a criminal offence for employers to knowingly underpay their staff. Directors and business owners can face jail time.

 

CCIQ in no way supports underpayment of wages, or any breach of Australia’s workplace laws. But in our vast experience, employers almost never deliberately underpay. Whenever we have identified payment issues it has always been due to the complexity of the industrial relations system, or at worst, a lack of attention or oversight.

 

Last month we spoke in front of a Parliamentary Committee to ask the government not to proceed. We pointed to the economic crisis, a confusing Modern Awards system, and the many ways that cases of alleged underpayment can already be addressed under the current system. We also stressed that there are already so many pressures dampening employers’ confidence and willingness to hire.

 

What You Need to Know

  • From today, wage theft is a criminal offence in Queensland punishable by up to 10 years in prison for ‘stealing’ and a maximum of 14 years in jail for an offence of fraud.

  • Workers, or a Union on behalf of a worker, can initiate the process by making a complaint to Queensland Police.

  • The process involves conciliation for cases up to $20,000.

  • Workers, or a Union on behalf of a worker, can initiate a civil claim instead, through a new Industrial Magistrates Court if they choose.

 

What You Need To Do

Now more than ever, employers need to get pays right. This means:

  1. Ensure your staff are being paid correctly under the relevant Modern Award or enterprise agreement, keeping in mind recent changes to Award minimum rates of pay and conditions

  2. Be sure to factor in allowances, overtime and other relevant award or enterprise agreement entitlements to ensure you are paying pursuant to an award or enterprise agreement

 

Be Confident You Are Paying Correctly

 

CCIQ can give you confidential advice about you whether you are paying wages in accordance with the relevant modern award or enterprise agreement correctly, and demonstrate that your business has not knowingly underpaid staff even if a mistake is made.

Members can access a Wage Rate Compliance Check for $825 inc GST.  
(Non-member rate - $878.90 inc GST)

 

Alternatively for free information 

Visit The Fair Work Ombudsmen Website for Information and advice about your workplace rights and obligation on  https://www.fairwork.gov.au/   you can also click on their paycalculator - Find Wages and penalty rates for employees.

 

 

 

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