SA Labor to Criminalise Wage Theft and Introduce Industrial Manslaughter Laws

22 February 2018

The SA Labor Party have vowed to crack down on employers who knowingly ‘rip off’ their workers by underpaying and exploiting them, if it wins the State election to be held on 17 March 2018.

Announcing the pledge at his campaign launch, Premier Jay Weatherill stated that, if re-elected his government would amend the Criminal Law Consolidation Act (SA) 1935 to create a new offence for wage theft.
This comes on the back of several recent high profile examples of underpayments, such as those committed by franchise outlet 7Eleven.

Employers who knowingly, recklessly or repeatedly underpay their workers, including failing to pay, or underpaying superannuation will be covered by the new laws and could see the worst repeat offenders face prison sentences of up to 15 years.

Employers who make genuine mistakes will be exempt from the laws.

The changes will be introduced as part of a suite of workplace protections to which the Labor Party has committed, including the proposed new offences of industrial manslaughter and the recently passed Labour Hire Licensing Act (SA) 2017, commencing on 1 March 2018.

The Labor Party has also pledged to amend the Work Health and Safety Act (SA) 2012 to create a new criminal offence of industrial manslaughter that will carry a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment for an individual or $10 million for a corporation.

The Labor Party also pledged to introduce laws to set a minimum employment age of 14, with exemptions for family businesses or work approved by the South Australian Employment Tribunal.

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