Media Release

27 April 2018

A Sydney linen and homewares retailer has been fined for underpaying a Chinese migrant, in yet another case of wage theft that could be stymied by stronger worker protections in NSW.

‘Benson Australia’, which has retail outlets in Sydney and online, has been penalised $153,333 after underpaying the migrant worker $60,904 over a period of just under four years.

In light of the most recent abuse of the rights and entitlements of workers, NSW Labor is once again calling for new wage theft laws to be aimed at employers.

NSW Labor has committed to implementing stronger deterrents, as current penalties are not tough enough.

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:

“We need stronger laws and better enforcement, because there are still a number of unscrupulous employers that aren’t getting the message.

“NSW Labor will deliver a new wage theft law to criminalise the deliberate failure to pay wages and other entitlements.”