Australian Government has introduced a new law to crack down on dodgy bosses who exploit or allow exploitation of vulnerable workers.
‘If you complain to anyone, I will kill you and cancel your visa’, said the employer to an Indian cook who complained about being exploited to the Fair Work Ombudsman.
In February, Fares Ghazale, the former owner-operator of a cafe in Albury, NSW was penalised $88,810 and his company Rubee Enterprises Pty Ltd was penalised a further $444,100 by the Federal Circuit Court for exploiting five workers at the cafe, which included two Indian cooks.
A total of $532,910 in penalties was the largest ever achieved through legal action, Fair Work Ombudsman claimed.
Now government has introduced a law to crack down on dodgy bosses who exploit or allow exploitation of vulnerable workers.
On March 1st, Government introduced legislation to protect vulnerable workers and crack down on unscrupulous bosses who break the law, through its The Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017.
“Last year, all decent Australians would have been appalled at video footage of young 7-Eleven workers being led to an ATM and forced to hand back part of their wages in cash,” Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said.
“We’ve also been appalled at recent revelations of systematic underpayment of employees by some franchisees of well-known pizza chains.”
The new law will help the authorities to catch and punish unscrupulous bosses and protect responsible employers, by increasing penalties ten-fold for serious contraventions involving deliberate and systematic underpayment of workers.
Employers practicing ‘cashbacks’ recently exposed at 7-Eleven and making such direct or indirect requests will be punished.
Under the new law, head offices will be made accountable too wherein a head office has significant influence or control over their franchisee or subsidiary and the head office is expected to know of the underpayment or related breaches.
(Source: www.sbs.com.au; 2 March, 2017, Mosiqi Acharya)