An honest day’s work should mean an honest day’s pay.
If you’ve been underpaid, or you haven’t received your full entitlements, you need to take take action now to ensure you get what you’re owed.
This can be easier said than done, particularly if your employer is under financial stress. But we can guide you through this.
The steps to getting what you’re 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 clear written demand for payment. There is no point in ‘having a chat’ with your boss. You need to take the formal action of recording that you think you’ve been underpaid.
Your written demand should fully detail the amounts you believe to be outstanding, including the value of any entitlements. You need to give your employer a specified period to pay you the amounts due or to reach another arrangement with you.
The Fair Work Ombudsman
If your employer does not respond to you written demand, you may wish to submit a complaint to the Fair Work Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will inquire into the issue, and will help facilitate a mediation between you and your employer.
Going to court
If the Fair Work Ombudsman fails to resolve the issue, the next step is to commence proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court alleging that your employer is in violation of the Fair Work Act 2009.
The things your employer may not have done include:
- Paying you the award wage at the appropriate level and with the necessary loadings.
- Paying you superannuation contributions at the legal rate and within time.
- Allowing your annual leave, or paying you for your accrued annual leave entitlements.
- Paying your wages at least monthly. Most employers pay fortnightly, but they can’t hold off any longer than a month.
- Providing your with formal pay-slips setting out what you have been paid and how it has been calculated.
If you are able to successfully argue that directors of your employer were involved in the underpayment, then they can be made personally liable, and subject to penalties. This is a particularly useful strategy when your employer is a company that is under financial strain.
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 can cover:
- 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, the next step is to get in contact with us for a no-obligation and confidential chat: