Gen United

Your boss has stolen your wages? 😡 Here’s what to do 👇

In this blog we’ll be covering:
👉 James’ wage theft story and how he won back his lost wages
👉 how Unions can helo you get your wages back

Reading time

3 minutes

Published on

Wage theft is rampant in Australian workplaces with young people who are already disproportionately struggling through the cost-of-living crisis are often the most affected.

As you can see from the video, James was paid well below the award wage, and he was knocked back when he asked for a pay rise. Unfortunately, situations like James’ are all too common but there are organizations to go to when you need help; Trade Unions! 

Approaching this situation thoughtfully and systematically will help you achieve the best possible outcome. Before you take your issue further it’s good practice to take some steps first to establish the scale of the problem, often you won’t need to go any further than talking to your boss and fixing the mistake, but if you do that’s when it’s time to join your union.

Verify the Issue: Double-check your employment contract, pay stubs, and any relevant communications or policies to confirm the discrepancy in your pay. 

  • Gather Information: Collect all necessary documentation that supports your claim. This could include time sheets, work schedules, emails, and any relevant communication related to your job duties and agreed pay. 

  • Talk to Your Supervisor or HR: Schedule a meeting to discuss your concerns. Be calm and professional, present your evidence, and ask for clarification about the discrepancy. Sometimes, pay issues are due to clerical errors that can be quickly resolved. 

  • Document Everything: Keep detailed records of all communications and actions you take regarding this issue. This documentation can be very important if the dispute escalates or if you need to take legal action. 

If you’ve hit a wall and your boss won’t repay you, a union can help you in several ways 😖 

Support and Advocacy: Dealing with wage issues can be stressful and overwhelming, especially if you’re facing resistance from your employer. A union can provide you with emotional support, advocacy, and guidance throughout the process, helping you navigate any challenges you may encounter. 

Grievance Procedures: Most unions have established grievance procedures to address workplace issues, including cases of underpayment. If you believe you’ve been underpaid, you can file a grievance with your union, which will then work to resolve the issue through mediation, arbitration, or other means. This is generally when the problem will be resolved but sometimes – just like in James’ case, you need to take further action, and this is where being in a union can not only be a massive help but also will save you potentially thousands of dollars in legal fees. 

Legal Assistance: Many unions provide legal representation and support to their members. If Advocacy and Grievances haven’t been enough to get your money back, the union can help you navigate the legal process, file a complaint with the appropriate authorities, and represent you in negotiations with your employer. James’ case was taken to court by the United Workers Union, and they managed to claim back almost $15,000 in unpaid wages and superannuation, the process did take around two years, but it was worth it! 

Policy Advocacy: Unions also engage in policy advocacy at the local, state, and national levels to promote fair labor practices and protect workers’ rights. By joining a union and supporting its advocacy efforts, you contribute to broader efforts to address systemic issues of wage theft and exploitation. 

Overall, a union can be a valuable resource if you’ve been underpaid, providing you with legal assistance, collective bargaining power, grievance procedures, support, and advocacy to help you address the issue and secure fair compensation for your work.

What even is a Union?

You may never have heard of unions or if you have, you’re not quite sure what they do. Fear not, we’ve got you covered with the down low on these super helpful organizations.

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Wage theft is rampant in Australian workplaces with young people who are already disproportionately struggling through the cost-of-living crisis are often the most affected.