Media Releases

Wage theft threat prompted by one-off public holiday

September 23, 2022

SA workers are being urged to check their pay slips for yesterday's Public Holiday, as concerns grow about a likely spike in wage theft.

Business groups have been publicly complaining about the loss of profits they would face as a result of yesterday being declared a public holiday.

Workers are reporting employers expecting workers to 'make up' the 'time lost' from the public holiday.

While some businesses gladly paid their employees the public holiday pay entitlements and penalty rates they're entitled to, reports tell us that many are looking for opportunities to pay staff less than what they should.

Last year a parliamentary report found "Wage theft was found to be pervasive across South Australia among vulnerable cohorts of workers, especially those in non-union, casualised, insecure work, the committee said. Effectively, wage theft has become the basis of a business model."

Investigations by the McKell institute found wage theft is costing SA workers and the economy $500m a year.

"Workers are the ones doing it tough, they need strong laws to protect them from employers who would dud them their rightful wages."

"Unions are clear, if businesses chose to trade yesterday, then their employees deserve to be paid their correct entitlements."

"We're encouraging workers to check their pay slips, not just for people that worked the day and should have received penalty rates, but to ensure that they aren't 'docked' a day's pay if they didn't work.”