Underpayment of Wages

Are you getting paid for all your work?

An honest day’s work should mean an honest day’s pay. Staff who are underpaid or who don’t receive their entitlements need to take a proactive stance that ensures they get what they are owed. This can be easier said than done, particularly if the underpayment of wages is a result of insolvency and bankruptcy.

The steps to getting what you are owed

Making a Written Demand

If your employer has failed to pay you wages or other entitlements, a good first port of call is to make a written demand for payment. The written demand should fully detail the amounts that you believe to be outstanding. It should give your employer a specified period to make the relevant payments or to reach another arrangement with you.

The Fair Work Ombudsman

If the written demand fails, you may wish to submit a complaint to the Fair Work Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will inquire into the issue, and will help to conduct a mediation between you and your employer.


If the Fair Work Ombudsman fails to resolve the issue, you may be able to commence proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court alleging that your employer has been in violation of the Fair Work Act 2009, including neglecting to:

  • Pay award wages.
  • Pay superannuation contributions.
  • Pay accrued annual leave entitlements.
  • Pay wages at least monthly.
  • Provide you with payslips.

If you successfully allege that directors and officers were involved, they would be  personally liable. This is a particularly useful strategy when your company that is insolvent or may not be able to meet any award for costs or damages that is made against it.

Give us a call – 02 9331 0266

Underpayment of wages and insolvency

Most employees who lose their job as a result of the bankruptcy or insolvency of their employer are entitled to make a claim under the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Act 2012. Such claims include:

  • Accrued annual leave payments.
  • Accrued long service leave entitlements.
  • Up to thirteen week’s unpaid wages.
  • Up to five weeks’ pay in lieu of notice.
  • Up to four weeks’ redundancy pay for each year of service.

Claims cannot include outstanding superannuation contributions, discretionary bonus payments, one-off commissions, reimbursements, or relocation or travel allowances.

Before making a claim, employees must take reasonable steps to prove any debts that their employer may owe to them in the winding up or bankruptcy of the employer.

We can help you recover your entitlements

We do this by:

  • Identifying how much money you are owed.
  • Devising a cost-effective strategy that maximises your chances of recovering your unpaid entitlements.
  • Conducting litigation against your employer and its directors to recover your unpaid entitlements.
  • Helping you to deal with insolvent or bankrupt employers.

If you’ve suffered underpayment of wages from a current or former employer, please get in touch. We can work with you to ensure that you are paid what you are owed.

Give us a call – 02 9331 0266