Victorian Trades Hall Council welcomes the passage of laws that will make wage theft a crime in Victoria. This is a critical moment for working people, and unions who have worked tirelessly to ensure wage theft becomes a crime and that bosses are held accountable.
Unions in Victoria, working people and activists have fought for several years for the introduction of wage theft laws that will punish dodgy bosses found to be stealing wages and entitlements.
We’ve seen a string of dodgy bosses, including high-profile celebrity chefs, steal millions of dollars from working people, often young workers and migrant workers because they thought they could get away with it. This is a business model that has gone on too long, but with the passing of this legislation it is set to change as bosses will begin to face real consequences.
Under the law just passed in parliament in Victoria, employers found to be deliberately stealing wages, entitlements or superannuation could face 10 years jail or fines of up $991,320 for companies and $198,264 for individuals.
VTHC is proud of the role it has played with unions across the state, working people and activists to ensure the first wage theft laws in Australia were introduced in Victoria.
It also welcomes a powerful independent inspectorate as part of this new legislation
Quotes attributable to Victorian Trades Hall Council Secretary Luke Hilakari:
“This is momentous and pivotal for working people in Victoria, who have been saying enough is enough, it’s time wage theft is a crime and bosses stealing wages are properly punished so that wage theft as a business model comes to an end.
“Unions, working people and activists campaigned hard in the lead up to the last state election to make wage theft a crime in Victoria and we’re proud to have delivered this for working people with the action of the Andrews Government.
“Bosses who steal money and entitlements from working people will now face the full force of
the law - real consequences, from substantial fines to jail time for the worst offenders.
“These laws will need to be strongly enforced and these laws establish the power of the Wage Inspectorate to ensure that they are. The union movement looks forward to working with the Inspectorate.”