The short exercise of adding up the wage theft reported to media by the Fair Work Ombudsman over just six months of 2017 reaches an eye-watering $3.55 million* from the pockets of our lowest-paid workers.
Queensland Unions are keeping a regular count of reported wage theft to make sure the scale of this robbery isn’t swept under the carpet by a federal government that has shown little interest in cracking down on crooked bosses.
This figure only includes reported wage theft – academics and industrial relations experts believe the scale of wage theft could be many times greater!
When underpayment of superannuation benefits is included, the scale of wage theft grows into the billions.
According to Industry Super Australia, a staggering one-third of eligible Australian workers are being underpaid superannuation entitlements. This is 2.4 million workers having $3.6 billion stolen from them each year.
Recent media reports from the Australian Tax Office say the ultimate cost to workers in retirement stretches into billions of dollars.
Recovering wages through the courts is difficult. It’s costly and takes time. Recovering superannuation through the Tax Office is even harder. It’s more evidence that the system is broken. We need to change the rules.
*Figures derived from FWO media releases Mar-Sep 2017