The organisation has put its weight behind an inquiry that aims to shed light on stolen wages of Australian employees

On 17 May, the Queensland Legislative Assembly called for an inquiry into the problem of wage theft in the state.

The inquiry aims to investigate the incidence of wage theft in Queensland, with additional reference to evidence of wage theft from other parts of Australia.

Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA) has announced it “fully supports” the inquiry, which it says “aims to shed light on the stolen wages of Australian workers including our pharmacy members”.

“Wage theft takes many forms including verbal contracts, employment as an employer, unpaid penalty rates, sick leave, annual leave and superannuation,” explains PPA.

“In many Australian corporations and businesses, wage theft is running rampant. More hardworking Australians are being short-changed through superannuation underpayments or in some cases, non-payments.”

According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), employers must pay super if an employee is paid $450 or more in a calendar month. This superannuation is paid on top of wages.

The minimum employers must pay – called the super guarantee – is currently 9.5% of an employee’s ordinary time earnings.

Employers must pay the super guarantee at least four times a year, by the quarterly due dates.

A December 2016 report by Industry Super Australia (ISA) found employers failed to pay at least $3.6 billion in super guarantee contributions in 2013-14.

This equates to 30% of workers not being paid part or all of their compulsory super.

Each worker misses out on four months of their super or $1,489 on average, according to ISA.

Without government action unpaid super and lost earnings will reach $66 billion by 2024, says the report.

A Guild spokesperson urges pharmacy employers to comply with all obligations.

“It is the Guild’s firm view and advice to all members that industrial award and other workplace requirements should be full complied with by pharmacy owners,” the spokesperson says.

The Education, Employment and Small Business Committee is required to report back to the Legislative Assembly by 16 November 2018 on the issue.

Stakeholders and members of the public have an opportunity to contribute to the inquiry by participating in an online survey, which is open until 4pm on 30 September 2018.