Unions NSW has found that an alarming proportion of migrant workers are being paid far below award rates, through job listings in foreign language publications. The findings were based off a sample of job advertisements in Korean, Chinese and Spanish publications within Australia. The two-year investigation found that four in five jobs were paying below award rates – amounting to a frightening 80 per cent of jobs.
Unions NSW Secretary, Mark Morey, has confirmed that this investigation will be used to push the Turnbull Government to ensure that “just because your first language isn’t English, doesn’t mean you should… be ripped off at work.”
What is more surprising is that this unfortunate reality is not one being faced by migrants alone. Dr Stephen Clibborn, a lecturer at the University of Sydney Business School, confirms that the past two decades have pointed to an overall steady increase in the number of workers in Australia being underpaid. Clibborn puts a vast majority of this issue down to the fact that the chances of employers getting caught underpaying their staff are slim. While the Fair Work Ombudsman plays a large role in strategic enforcement, they do not have enough resources to ensure accountability in every workplace in Australia. Similarly, their capacity is limited in being able to directly respond to complaints and enact change.
Accordingly, the future for underpaid workers residing in Australia lies solely in the hands of our Government. Curbing the issue of underpaying migrants is one that will take time, but action must be undertaken to better regulate workplaces, inspect pay logs and ensure that employers are meeting the legal requirements in our country.
If you are being underpaid, or are facing any issues regarding fair pay, please contact Freedman & Gopalan Solicitors on 02 8917 8700 or fill out the enquiry box and we will get back to you ASAP.