Oct 2018 | Unclaimed wages likely to top one billion dollars

Date: 29 Oct 2018

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

A landmark study has found a silent underclass of vulnerable Australian workers is owed an estimated billion dollars with almost a third paid $12 per hour or less – almost half of their legal entitlements.

The University of NSW (UNSW) and Univerity of Technology Sydney (UTS) research found that fewer than one in ten migrant workers has taken action to recover unpaid wages, even though they know they are being underpaid. The remaining nine in ten suffered wage theft in silence.

Bassina Farbenblum, a senior law lecturer at UNSW said the study confirmed that Australia has a large silent underclass of migrant workers.

"The scale of unclaimed wages is likely well over a billion dollars," she said.

"There is a culture of impunity for wage theft in Australia. Unscrupulous employers continue to exploit migrant workers because they know they won't complain."