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Wage Inspectorate Victoria up and about
Wage Inspectorate Victoria has been in the news lately as the body that will be responsible for administering and enforcing Victoria’s new Wage Theft law which came into effect from 1 July 2021.
Under that legislation, employers who deliberately underpay employees can be fined close on a million dollars and be imprisoned for up to 10 years. But the Inspectorate has been around for a number of years looking after its other regulatory responsibilities in relation to long service leave, child work permits and owner drivers and forestry contractors.
Recently, the Inspectorate undertook the first prosecution for underpayment of long service leave entitlements under the Long Service Leave Act 2018.
The prosecution was against Coles who pleaded guilty to seven criminal charges filed by the Wage Inspectorate, conceding it underpaid 24 former employees $53,710 between October 2019 and April 2020.
It has been reported that the ongoing investigation has since identified underpayments totalling nearly $700,000 to 4,096 employees. So perhaps there might be more to come here.
Coles pleaded that the underpayments were the result of an error but the Wage Inspectorate Commissioner said there was no excuse for Coles' non-compliance, particularly given its access to HR and legal functions.
We can understand the Commissioner’s view – there have been so many underpayment of wages cases involving some of Australia’s largest and/or high profile employers.
So now there are a couple of officers on the block – the Fair Work Ombudsman and Wage Inspectorate Victoria.
So here are a few questions for you:
- Are you paying your people correctly and providing them with the correct leave entitlements?
- Are you otherwise compliant with National Employment Standards, modern awards, superannuation and long service leave legislation?
- Are you keeping the right employment records?
- Do you have access to competent advice?
If you have trouble saying “yes” to any of those questions, you might want to take advantage of our free first consultation.
Or perhaps invest in our very affordable Workplace Relations Compliance Assessment ($750 plus GST).
Contact us online at https://ridgelinehr.com.au/contact-us/ or by phone on 0421 592 541.
Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
Abn : 24 091 644 094
6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136
Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311
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