In Victoria, the Andrews Government first flagged its intention to criminalise wage theft in May 2018. This intention was reaffirmed in the government’s response to a parliamentary inquiry into penalty rates and fair pay in September of that year and was put forward as an election commitment at the 2018 State Election. The Wage Theft Bill 2020 was subsequently introduced in the Legislative Assembly in March 2020, following a community consultation process, and makes Victoria the first Australian jurisdiction to introduce legislation seeking to criminalise wage theft.
This Bill Brief provides an overview of the Wage Theft Bill 2020. First, it provides some background on the current legislative framework, looks at wage theft definitions, explains why it’s being discussed and considers the recent changes proposed by the federal government.
The Brief then looks at the Bill itself, including the Victorian Government’s consultation process leading up to the Bill’s introduction, the Attorney-General’s second reading speech and then discusses what the Bill seeks to do. Additionally, the Brief considers responses to the Bill by various stakeholder groups and concludes with a comparison of the current situation in other jurisdictions.