September 14, 2020
2017: It was the year that brought us La La Land, salt bae, and a brand new union campaign to make wage theft a crime.
From all across the Sunshine State, workers have been speaking out and sharing their hospo horror stories. What have we found? A wage theft problem bigger than the Big Pineapple itself.
Each year wage theft is affecting 437,000 workers and costing them approximately $1.22 billion in wages and $1.12 billion in unpaid superannuation. (THAT’S BAD.)
Now thanks to the work of union members, the Queensland parliament has passed laws that make deliberate wage theft a crime, and they’ll take effect in early October.
But wait, hasn’t theft always been a crime? How will these laws change things for hospo workers who are being ripped off? Well it’s all about a piece of legislation called the Criminal Code. *cue Law & Order opening music*
The new laws amend the Criminal Code to create a stealing and fraud definition related to wages. This means bosses are on notice straight away that wage theft can have criminal consequences.
From now on, dodgy employers will face jail terms of up to a decade for wage theft, or 14 years when fraud is involved. OOF. Bit of an adjustment from their Noosa beach-side mansion hey.
The threat of going to jail will send a powerful message to wage thieves in hospo and other industries, like food, beverage and farm supply chains.
But we know prevention is better than a cure. And the best prevention to wage theft is a double dose of joining your union and taking action!
There will also be a new mechanism for workers to recover stolen wages more quickly and cheaply, through an industrial division of the Court. Think simple application forms, low costs and quick listings. We’ll make sure Hospo Voice members get the lowdown on how the mechanism works once it’s finalised.
Most excitingly it means workers and their unions can take wage theft into their own hands and not spend months and years in complicated systems.
Hospo Voice members are bringing the reign of dodgy bosses to an end. No more gaming the system, or using wage theft as a business model. These new laws will give the power back to workers and allow us to take action! We’ve made it happen in Victoria and Queensland, now it’s time for the whole country to get on board!
Congrats to all the union members who spoke out to help win these new laws. Step by step Hospo Voice members are turning the tables on dodgy bosses all over Australia.
Not a member? Joining Hospo Voice is free for the first month, and then $9.99 per month after that. As a member you also get access to our awesome new app Mobilise, to help you win back stolen wages.
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