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Different day, same story…

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by Lisa Johnson

3 months ago

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I know, why don’t the unions and business stop arguing about whether job insecurity is a ‘thing’ and focus on the important things.  Like wage growth (and the lack of) and this – yet another example of hard working people being thoroughly ripped off by business owners who claim that they were only trying to do the right thing.  Although I am unclear how allegedly not paying people, is doing the right thing.

Regardless, if you are a permanent or a casual employee, not being paid correctly is a big deal.  If you are working 45 hour weeks and getting $500 in the hand (and you’re over 21) you are being seriously, seriously underpaid.  And I am sorry small business owner, you cannot claim ignorance as a defence. 

The thing that gets my goat, is that business industry groups argue to reduce penalty rates because the cost of business is just too high for many in the retail and hospitality and then you get these hideous stories of people working for literally no money.  Where they are not getting taxed appropriately, where superannuation is not submitted on their behalf and where they don’t get paid on time, if they get paid at all.  Oh, you might say, these are just a few businesses, not everyone is underpaying their staff!  Well I ask you this:

How do you know?

How do you know that the majority of small to medium businesses are paying staff to award conditions?  That penalties are being paid?  That superannuation is being remitted on time? According to this article from August 2017, over the past 8 years, employers have stolen $17 billion dollars in superannuation from their employees.  I reckon that sounds like more than a few small café’s might be involved here.

The good thing, is that the government is cracking down.  Employers with more than 20 employees will be required to do Single Touch Payroll from 1 July 2018.  This means they have to tell the ATO who they are paying, how much they are paying them and how much superannuation is being accrued for them.  The ATO can then use this information to reconcile actual superannuation contributions.  From 1 July 2019, small businesses will need to comply as well.

I am fairly confident that the Single Touch Payroll process is going to be what my partner calls a ‘shemozzle’ and it won’t achieve very much in the short term. Once the ATO has it’s processes sorted and can start really looking at the data it’s collecting…we many finally have some insight into how many low paid Australians have been ripped off by their employer.

Want to know what you should be paid?  Use FairWork Australia’s online P.A.C.T tool to find out!

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