Ripped-off Queensland workers will have an easier, cheaper way to recover the wages and other entitlements they’re owed.
Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said a new quick, simple and low-cost wages recovery system would be in place from Monday (1 March).
“The new streamlined process means all Queensland workers who’ve been underpaid can recover what they’re owed more easily – whether it’s penalty rates, superannuation or unlawful or unreasonable deductions from their wages,” she said.
“Queensland’s Parliamentary Committee wage theft inquiry found that every year Queensland workers miss out on more than $1.2 billion in unpaid wages and another $1.1 billion in underpaid superannuation.
“This Labor Government made wage theft a criminal offence last year in a national first and this new, simple system complements those laws.”
From Monday (1 March), workers employed under the Federal Fair Work Act can lodge a claim for unpaid entitlements in the Industrial Magistrates Court.
The court will deal with small claims informally – claims of up to $20,000 for workers in the Federal system and $50,000 for workers in the Queensland state system.
Ms Grace said this meant workers did not need lawyers to make a claim.
“Firstly, workers can take their case to an industrial commissioner for conciliation,” she said.
“This gives the workers a chance to resolve the issue without even going to court.
“If a claim isn’t resolved via conciliation, the claim can go to Industrial Magistrates Court.
“The new system will minimise the costs and time for workers, other parties as well as the courts, through informal court proceedings.
“As I said in Parliament this week the Palaszczuk Labor Government has, and always will, stand up for Queensland workers.
“That’s why we’ve also opposed provisions of the Morrison Government’s omnibus industrial relations Bill.
“This proposed legislation undermines workers’ rights and entitlements, seeks to water down Queensland’s strong wage theft laws and fails to address the real issues for workers — casualisation and precarious employment.”