In The Daily Fix, Crikey taps into the wisdom of experts and community leaders to find solutions to problems. This week: wage theft.
There are many useful improvements to existing legal processes that could be made to bring down the number of businesses underpaying their staff — and indeed some of them are under consideration by the Morrison government.
Awards have recently been simplified by the Fair Work Commission, and more could be done in that area too, although without simply being a pretext to remove entitlements.
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But the most urgent need is for greater funding, both to the Fair Work Ombudsman, to help it cope with the huge task of investigating non-compliance by small and large businesses alike, and to the many community-based legal services which advise and support vulnerable workers.
That additional funding should not have to wait on consultations or legislative proposals — it’s needed now.
Andrew Stewart is the author of Stewart’s Guide to Employment Law, and is the John Bray Professor of Law at the University of Adelaide.