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Wage Theft

Wage Theft

Wage theft is the denial of wages or employee benefits rightfully owed to an employee and it is now a criminal offense in Queensland.

Nurses employed by hospitals, nursing homes, and home healthcare agencies are often the victims of wage theft and abuse.

  • Many nurses are forced to work “off the clock”, work through mandatory meal breaks and are denied pay for time spent updating patient charts, medical records, and other administrative tasks.
  • Often nurses incur job-related expenses without reimbursement.
  • Nurses are not reimbursed for uniform and work-related clothing expenses.

In September 2020, the Queensland government passed the Criminal Code and Other Legislation (Wage Theft) Amendment Act 2020. This act amends the Queensland Criminal Code definition of stealing to provide an offence against an employer who intentionally fails to make payment of wages or entitlements, when it becomes payable to their employees. 

The drafting of the new offence is written in broad terms to catch a variety of deliberate unlawful conduct, including: 

  • Unpaid hours or underpayment of hours of work
  • Unpaid penalty rates
  • Unpaid superannuation contributions
  • Unreasonable wage deductions
  • Avoidance of payments due to “sham contracting” or intentionally classifying an employee under the wrong award 

What should you do?

  1. Ensure your manager signs off on all overtime worked.  (If this becomes an issue document discussions and instances of refusal and contact NPAQ support.)
  2. Send a written request seeking payment or time off in lieu to your manager and HR. CC. hotline@npaq.com.au
  3. Escalate the matter as a Support Request via the NPAQ member dashboard.