On 15 July 2020, Hon Grace Grace MP, Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations, introduced the Criminal Code and Other Legislation (Wage Theft) Amendment Bill 2020.

The House referred the Bill to the Education, Employment and Small Business Committee for detailed consideration.  The committee is required to report by Friday 28 August 2020.

Objective of the Bill

The explanatory notes state that the objectives of the Bill are to implement the underlying policy intent of the recommendations made in the committee’s report titled A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work? Exposing the true cost of wage theft in Queensland, tabled on 16 November 2018. The two recommendations of the report that require legislative amendments are:

  • Recommendation 8 (Simple, quick and low-cost wage recovery process for workers), and
  • Recommendation 15 (Criminalisation of wage theft).

The objectives of the Bill are to be achieved by:

  • enabling the prosecution of wage theft as stealing under the Criminal Code;
  • increasing the maximum penalties in the Criminal Code for the offences of stealing and fraud relating to wage theft; and
  • facilitating the Industrial Magistrates Court’s jurisdiction for wage recovery matters, including the small claims wage recovery procedure for matters of not more than $20,000 under section 548 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cwth) (FW Act).

Call for submissions

The committee seeks submissions on the Bill from the public and interested stakeholders. The committee would appreciate you passing its call for submissions on to anyone you believe might be interested in the inquiry.

The closing date for submissions is 5:00pm on Thursday 30 July 2020.

An information sheet which provides guidelines on making a submission can be found at:  http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/committees/guidelines/Guide_MakingASubmission_WebVersion.pdf

Submissions should be emailed to eesbc@parliament.qld.gov.au  or mailed to:
Committee Secretary
Education, Employment and Small Business Committee
Parliament House
George Street
Brisbane  Qld  4000

Submissions must include:
• the author’s name
• if the submission is made on behalf of an organisation, the level of approval (e.g. a local branch, executive committee or national organisation); and
• at least two of the following –
• mailing address
• email address
• daytime telephone number.

Public briefing

The committee will hold public briefing to hear from the Department of Education (Office of Industrial Relations) on Monday 27 July 2020. The briefing will be broadcast live on Parliament TV.

Public hearing

The committee will hold a public hearing on Monday 10 August 2020. Details will be posted on the committee’s webpage.
The hearing will be broadcast live on Parliament TV.

Other information

The Criminal Code and Other Legislation (Wage Theft) Amendment Bill 2020 and Explanatory notes are available at these links and from the Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel at www.legislation.qld.gov.au.

The Minister’s statement of compatibility with human rights can be accessed here.