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Employment Law ChangesJune 4, 2018
Employers who deliberately underpay or don’t pay their workers will face up to 10 years jail under new laws pledged by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, should the Government win the November 24 election.
Under the proposed new laws, employers who deliberately withhold wages, superannuation or other employee entitlements, falsify employment records, or fail to keep employment records would face fines of up to $190,284 for individuals, $951,420 for companies and up to 10 years jail.
The new laws would also make it faster, cheaper and easier for workers to get the money they are owed by their employer through the courts. For claims of up to $50,000, court filing fees would be lowered, claims would be heard within 30 days and court processes would be simplified.
To make sure employers follow court orders, an automatic enforcement model would be introduced that puts the onus on the employer to demonstrate they have complied with orders and paid the entitlements owed to workers.
Wage theft offences will be investigated and prosecuted by the Victorian Wage Inspectorate – a new employment watchdog the Victorian Government is establishing to promote fair industrial relations practices and better education, compliance and enforcement of state-based employment laws.
The Inspectorate was funded with $22 million in the Victorian Budget 2018/19 and will have resources to enforce new long service leave laws, child employment and owner-driver laws. It will also oversee labour hire licencing and enforcement, and establish portable long service leave for contract cleaning, community services and security industry workers.