The ACTU welcomes the commitment by the ALP to establish a small claims jurisdiction sitting alongside the Fair Work Commission to provide simple, low-cost, plain language access to justice for workers who have their wages stolen.
Under the Morrison Government, wage theft has become a business model, but the process for recovering stolen wages is often expensive and time consuming, and favours employers over victims of wage theft.
The ACTU has been campaigning for an effective, one-stop, plain-language tribunal that can deliver redress so no one gives up on claiming back what has been stolen from them because they can’t afford to spend the time or money that the current flawed process requires.
The new small claims jurisdiction will provide fast and inexpensive recourse for workers who have had wages stolen, and its presence will discourage employers who are considering stealing wages.
As noted by ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:
“Getting back wages which have been stolen from you should be simple and inexpensive. We welcome the ALP announcement.
“Wage theft has become systemic because employers get away with it. By empowering working people to claim back their stolen wages we will make sure that employers who steal wages face consequences.
“Wage theft is a business model in entire sectors of the economy. We need to act to end it, but the Morrison Government has looked the other way.
“This announcement should put all employers on notice – if you steal from your workers, they will be able to take you to court and you will face penalties.
“One case of wage theft is too many, we need to change the government to change the rules for workers who are getting ripped off.”