JWS Consulting is a division of Johnson Winter & Slattery providing commercial consulting services.
Johnson Winter & Slattery is engaged by major businesses, investment funds and government agencies as legal counsel on important transactions and disputes throughout Australia and surrounding regions.
Our firm provides a diverse range of opportunities for talented, enthusiastic people to develop brilliant legal careers.
Our news and media coverage including major transaction announcements, practitioner appointments and team expansions.
We support a number of community initiatives and not for profit organisations across Australia through pro bono legal work and charitable donations.
We support a number of organisations through sponsorships.
With much recent debate at the Federal and State level about criminalising employee underpayments, on 16 June 2020, the Victorian Parliament passed the Wage Theft Bill 2020.
While there is significant overlap between the jurisdiction of the Victorian Wage Inspectorate established under the Wage Theft Bill and the Commonwealth Fair Work Ombudsman, particularly in respect of the requirement to pay employee entitlements and the requirement to keep accurate records regarding employee entitlements, these obligations can form the foundation of criminal offences under the Wage Theft Bill. Further, the Wage Theft Bill defines “employee entitlements” and “employee records” broadly, and so will also encompass employment obligations under long service leave and superannuation legislation.
With the Commonwealth Government reviving its “wage theft” agenda in the COVID-19 IR roundtables currently underway, it is possible that similar legislation will be passed by the Commonwealth Government, which will likely override the Wage Theft Bill to the extent of any inconsistency. Further, various employer groups have publicly announced a potential constitutional challenge to the Wage Theft Bill.
The Wage Theft Bill creates new offences relating to employee entitlements:
Officers of an employer may be directly liable, or liable by complicity in the offences, but employees who act under direction and who are not officers of the company are not complicit.
A company will be liable for an offence conducted by an officer of the company, or directly through imputed knowledge of employees of the company, and notwithstanding that each element of the offence was conducted by different persons acting on behalf of the company.
In general, given the nature of these new offences, the elements of the offence will need to have been undertaken in Victoria, or the conduct comprising the offence may occur outside Victoria but affect an employee in Victoria, in order for liability to arise.
Penalties for these offences are a maximum of 6000 penalty units for a body corporate (currently $991,320), and a maximum of 10 years imprisonment for an individual. The penalty for a body corporate may be reduced if it is dealt with summarily in the Magistrates Court, in which the penalty is a maximum of 2500 penalty units (currently $413,050).
The Wage Theft Bill will commence on 1 July 2021 if not proclaimed earlier.
Be the first to receive the latest articles, news and publications.
The High Court of Australia handed down its much awaited decision about personal leave entitlements in Mondelez Australia Pty Ltd v AMWU & Ors and Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations v AMWU ...
Following on from the May 2020 Full Federal Court decision in Rossato, in July 2020 the Full Federal Court handed down its judgment in another labour hire case, Construction, Forestry, Maritime...
Yesterday’s announcement by the Victorian Premier of the Stage 4 restrictions for workplaces means it is timely for employers to review their COVID Plan.