On 1 July 2021, it will become a crime for an employer in Victoria to deliberately underpay employees or dishonestly withhold employee entitlements.
An employer in Victoria will be incriminated for:
- deliberately underpaying employees
- dishonestly withholding wages, superannuation or other employee entitlements
- falsifying employee entitlement records to gain a financial advantage
- failing to keep employee entitlement records to gain a financial advantage
Penalties for committing the above acts include fines of up to $218,088 or 10 years’ jail time for individuals and $1,090,400 for companies. The new legislation notes deliberate and dishonest conduct by an employer. Instances where employers make honest mistakes and have exercised a due diligence process when paying wages will not be considered wage theft.
To monitor this, the Victorian government has announced the establishment of the Wage Inspectorate of Victoria that will investigate and prosecute wage theft offences.
These laws will also impact employers who fail to keep employment records and falsify employee entitlement records.
Employers should proactively assess whether they’re paying their employees correctly on an ongoing basis to avoid any suspicion. In addition to this, it is important that an employer promptly acts on any pay discrepancies and queries raised by an employee.
We are able to assist employers in all states to identify an appropriate award and classification for employees. Our team can also assist with conducting a compliance audit to ensure employers are compliant in adhering to all relevant legislation when paying employees.
For more information on the above, please contact us on 1300 887 458 and speak with one of our HR Consultants. If you are interested in learning more about our HR services, including HR Outsourcing, HR Consulting, HR Advisory Services, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.