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Wage theft

Whether is it informal "black market" cash-in-hand jobs, or serious scams, some employers are deliberately committing theft by not paying wages properly. This can also include not paying penalty rates, and not paying superannuation.

What our campaign involves

We are building support for our campaign by going from neighbourhood to neighbourhood to raise awareness about serious exploitation of vulnerable workers. 

  • Talk to communities and local groups
  • Ask individuals to sign our petition to the ACT Assembly

How Workplace Exploitation Happens

It is all of our responsibility to tackle exploitation in Canberra

Casualised jobs 

More and more jobs that used to be secure, permanent jobs have been casualised by big businesses. 

The most common way this happens now is the use of labour-hire companies.

Threats of deportation 

Migrant workers on a temporary work visa (such as a 457 visa) are effectively "bonded" to a sponsoring employer. Dodgy employers threaten them with deportation if the worker speaks up about underpayments or unsafe working conditions.

Support the campaign!

We'll contact you with more information about how you can help.



Safeguard penalty rates

The ACT Government can protect penalty rates and rates of pay through the contracts that it has with the private sector.

The ACT Govt. is the second largest bulk-purchaser of goods and services, and it contracts out a vast range of services and goods, including maintenance, cleaning, catering, construction and much more. Using these contracts, the Government do business with reputable companies that pay proper penalty rates.

Protect migrant workers

Migrant workers experience severe exploitation at the hands of unscrupulous employers. These dodgy bosses use the threat of deportation to scare migrant workers -- if a worker is sacked and loses their visa sponsor, they have 60 days to find a new job or they are kicked out of Australia.

We want the ACT Government to step in when a temporary migrant worker is facing deportation and is going through a Fair Work Commission process, to become a "Sponsor of Last Resort". This will protect the migrant worker and allow natural justice to be served.

What can the ACT Government Do?

Join the campaign to make our neighbourhoods and suburbs free of wage-theft, exploitation and insecure work.

Half of all workers aged under 25 years experience wage-theft

70 percent of migrant workers experience underpayments

Women make up 60 percent of casualised jobs

Exploitation at work affects everyone in Canberra, from the food we consume, to the goods we buy, and the places we shop. 

What is exploitative work?

Exploitative work happens when an employer disregards two or more labour laws, such as:

  • Payment of minimum wage and/or penalty rates;
  • Payment of superannuation;
  • Work health and safety standards;
  • Payment for all hours worked, including overtime;
  • Providing proper records including payslips.

Exploitative work can also include sham contracts, improper use of labour hire arrangements, 

Employers that takes advantage of workers, disregard safety, underpay workers, or who use sham contracts or labour hire to avoid their obligations.

Donate to our 
Workers Rights Fund


Your financial support will help us provide support, advice and education to vulnerable workers.

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