May 28, 2018

Is Victoria’s new jail time for bad bosses just a meaningless gesture?

Victorian Labor has grabbed headlines by threatening to send dodgy bosses to jail, but it might not be so easy to put in action.

Charlie Lewis — Journalist

Charlie Lewis


L: Dan Andrews at the Victorian Labor state conference; R: victims of wage theft outside the same event.

Over the weekend, the Andrews government announced that, if re-elected in the upcoming Victorian state election, they will introduce new laws that would send employers who "deliberately underpay or don’t pay their workers" to jail for up to 10 years.

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8 thoughts on “Is Victoria’s new jail time for bad bosses just a meaningless gesture?

  1. klewso

    I steal from you, or you from me, we risk porridge; if a servant steals from his master/employer same applies – that’s the law.
    Why shouldn’t the same law apply to employers stealing from employers?

    1. AR

      …umm, I’ll take at stab at “coz they are job creators and technical laws don’t apply to them”.

    2. klewso

      “….. stealing from employees” of course.

  2. Pankration

    Make wage theft an offence under the Victorian Crimes Act and have the Victorian Police enforce it just like any other form of property theft.

  3. gumshoe

    One reason this move to “jail the dodgy employers” might not gain much traction might have been revealed last weekend in the Sunday Age. It is that those elites who represent the employers–and therefore, one assumes, also the employers themselves–think that the term ‘wage theft’ is “emotive”. It seems that ‘shop-theft’ is not only allowable (and we’re asked to use that term now, rather than ‘shoplifting’), and is highly desirable as a direct line to the beak, but ‘wage-theft’ is unfairly pejorative. My case is rested…

  4. klewso

    Some people seem to think wages are a privilege – “bestowed on the employees by benevolent employers” (the “sometimes” intimation of “Business leader” Ming Long? The Dum May 28)?
    But wages are money in exchange for something, in this case “work”.
    Get a plumber in to do up your shower and then refuse to pay them or wanted to pay less then billed, and see what happens?
    If you took a TV or a car without paying for it you’d be charged with theft?
    Refuse to pay a surgeon for an operation – and see where you go?
    What’s the difference between other sorts of “theft” and someone taking someone else’s “services” for less than an agreed value? “Caste”?

  5. kyle Hargraves

    Perhaps Andrews, like Shorten, is doing all he can to attract an audience. The obvious approach (surprised that the legal advisers to Andrews havent’ mentioned it) is to team-up with WA and Shorten (etc.) and alter the Federal Fair Work Act to suit; i.e. to provide for sanctions for generic offenses (such as underpayment, failure to observer duties to superannuation etc.).

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