If you’re in Queensland, you may have seen last month that the Government passed legislation making it a criminal offence for employers to knowingly underpay their staff. Directors and business owners can face jail time.

If you have employees, it’s imperative you ensure you are paying your staff correctly. Given the complexity of our Modern Awards system and the many ways cases of alleged underpayment can already be addressed, we recommend you review your wages to ensure your staff are being paid correctly.

What You Need To Know

  • From 10 September 2020 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

If you’d like to confirm your HR house is in order, we would encourage you to register for a review with Employer Services. Having worked with Director Chris Muir ourselves, Employer Services are available to offer advice on a range of HR and IR matters. You can contact Chris by email here, or please contact our office if you’d like us to make the introduction for you.