Simple Steps To Recover Your Stolen Wages From Your Employer
Thank you for reading our blog today, and I hope as you read through, that you will find some helpful tips to recover any monies, allowances that your employer has failed to pay.
I will also like you to note; today’s article will focus on Australian employer and employee experience and some basic processes formulated by the writer to primarily assist employees in recovering their unpaid allowances.
If you are a resident outside Australia while reading this content, I will encourage you to read through the whole article; you might find one or two information that could help you recover some lost/stolen monies from your employer.
Note: The term ‘ stolen wages,’ in this article only refers to employers who deliberately underpay their employees and sometimes refuse to pay employee wages.
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This article will focus on the following:
- Employers failing to pay their employees correct wages
- Wage theft by employers
- Underpayment of employees
- How to recover your unpaid allowances or stolen wages etc.
In Australia, some employers may likely underpay their employees, due to unintentional accounting errors, ignorance of employer’s obligations (ignorance is not an excuse though) or some unforeseen reasons.
But I think such employers could be in the minority, compared to employers who deliberately underpay their employees.
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Wage Theft in Australia
Wage theft; is a term coined by the Union’s, and it simply means an employer deliberately underpaying their staff/employees what they are entitled to be paid by the Law or Modern Award.
Common Instruments That Cover’s The Employee in Australia?
- National Workplace Relations Systems: Is a collection of various legislation that covers the Australian worker. Such as Fair Works Act 2009, the Australian Federal Court etc. Please check here for more details.
- National Employment Standards (NES): The NES address ten core minimum entitlements for the Australian worker as covered by the law. Some of such entitlements are annual leave, maximum weekly hours, public holidays; long services leave etc. Please check here for more details.
- Fair Works Australia: Fair Works is one of the most recognisable institutions by Australian workers. And some of the reason is; Fair Work assist employees/employers in understanding correct pay rate; whether its an Award or Enterprise Agreement. They also help settle payment disputes between employer and employees, and other times they go after dodgy employers. Click here for more details about Fair Works Australia.
Recover Stolen Wages
I will also like you to know, information from Australian Union websites states, ‘ The cost of wage theft to Australian workers is up to 3.6 Billion Dollars a Year. Yes, such a huge amount is what is stolen from ordinary hard-working Aussie workers.
That is one of the reasons why we decided to write this article/guide to help as many individuals/workers recover their stolen money. And if you are an employer reading this, I hope this may encourage you to pay your employees right or draft a fair Enterprise Agreement to pay all your workers the right wage.
Industries Most Affected by Wage Theft in Australia:
- Cleaning Industry
- Security Industry
- Farming Industry
- Restaurants/Hospitality Industry
- Small Groceries Stores etc
How To Recover Unpaid Wages From Your Employer
- Know your Industry award: It is important to know what is the Award Wage for your particular Industry. If you are not sure what the Award is, please click on this Fair Works Links, and it will show you different industry awards, including yours.
- Enterprise Agreement (EBA): Some workplaces may have an Enterprise Agreement. Enterprise Agreement is an agreement between the employer and the employee in regards to work conditions and pay, and it must be approved by Fair Works Commission for it to be valid.
So if your place of work has one, make sure you check on Fair Works website and see whether it is valid and what are the conditions in it.
If you can’t find your employer Enterprise Agreement on Fair Works website, I will advise you to get in touch with Fair Works and ask.
To learn more about Modern Award and enterprise agreement, please check on this the link below:
- Payslips: If you ever want to understand how much you were underpaid, make sure you have all your payslips and if possible timesheets. Also, avoid accepting cash payments. Often cash payment leaves you underpaid with no proper record of payments. And you may never recover any stolen wages and entitlements from your employers.
- Investigate: Once you have found your correct Industry Award, compare the Award to what your employer has paid you; if you find any underpayment, unpaid entitlement etc. Send an email to your employer or payroll department and point it out.
If they fail to respond or give you sufficient answer, request for backpay (what you are owed) and if they fail to do that. I will advise you to get in touch with your Union; if you are not a member, contact Fair Works, and they will assist you in recovering any stolen wages.
Once again, it is important to check if your Employer has a valid Enterprise Agreement, most employers will inform you of their EBA in your employment-contract or when you ask.
If you’d like to search for your employer EBA, please click on the link below:
Important Point To Note: An expired Employer EBA may continue to apply unless someone (or an employee) applies to Fair Work for that EBA to be terminated. Check Here for more details.
Employer Underpaying Me, How To Get My Monies Back
To get all monies you are owed from your employer, you must make sure you know your rights as an employee and the right steps to take. Things to consider:
- What Award or Enterprise Agreement you are on
- Have your payslips or timesheet with you
- Calculate the difference of what you are owed
- Inform your employer of what you believe you are owed
- Try to negotiate with your employer to get all your backpay
- Don’t accept cash payments; often cash payment leaves you with no record
- Report to your Union or Fair Works to recover your monies if employer Fails to pay back.
Our aim as an employer and a Security Companies in Melbourne is to see that all Australian workers are fairly paid and looked after by their employers. And we hope any worker whose wages has been ‘deliberately’ stolen by their employers gets paid back.
If you are unable to do this yourself, contact your Union, Fair Works or get in touch with our consultant and they can assist you to do all the hard work, calculate what you ought to be paid and advise you.
Written by: Job Moses