30 October 2019

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has lodged a misleading submission [$] opposing the creation of a criminal offence of wage theft. “It may sound far-fetched but if underpaying someone becomes a criminal offence, then so too could the misuse of sick leave (an activity which surveys suggest almost one in five employees engage in every year) as a form of ‘time theft’,” ACCI claims. The trouble is, as I have pointed out before, making false sick leave claims is already a crime. So is lodging false time sheets: for example, this truck driver is currently facing up to 120 years’ jail — ten years for each of 12 false time sheets he allegedly submitted. Why can’t he sign an undertaking and make a token contrition payment to buy his way out of trouble? If ACCI’s concern for equality is genuine, it would be arguing that bosses should also face ten years in the slammer for every false timesheet they create.