NSW Labor is welcoming a Fair Work Ombudsman audit of at least 200 businesses across outer west Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Wollondilly, following reports of a high number of young workers in workplace disputes.
The Fair Work Ombudsman will be checking businesses’ time and wage records for compliance with workplace laws, with young workers particularly vulnerable to underpayment and poor working conditions.
Wollondilly accounts for the highest number per 1,000 businesses of anonymous reports received by the Fair Work Ombudsman in New South Wales, and ranks second highest in terms of requests for assistance.
NSW Labor is concerned that current penalties for wage gouging are not tough enough and NSW needs stronger deterrents.
Labor has a five point plan to eliminate the exploitation of vulnerable workers and crack down on businesses that underpay their staff.
It is as follows:
• A new wage theft law to criminalise the deliberate failure to pay wages and entitlements;
• New laws to hold head franchisors accountable for the actions of franchisees;
• Widened powers for workplace inspectors to undertake wage audits;
• A licensing scheme for labour hire companies, forcing them to comply with labour laws and
ensuring they provide safe, fair and reasonable work conditions; and
• New laws to protect Sunday penalty rates in all state awards and agreements.
Quotes attributable to Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, Adam Searle:
“More can and should be done to prevent the systematic exploitation of workers.
“We need stronger laws and better enforcement, because there are still a number of unscrupulous employers that aren’t getting the message.
“Most employers do the right thing but the few that exploit their works should face serous penalties. Labor’s wage theft laws will not be aimed at businesses that make a genuine mistake but at those employers who are getting away with flagrant abuses.
“NSW Labor will deliver a new wage theft law to criminalise the deliberate failure to pay wages and other entitlements.”