The Queensland parliament has in August 2020 introduced legislation which if passed (as would be very likely) will result in the failure to pay employment entitlements of workers becoming a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of 10 years under the Criminal Code.
This is achieved by categorising wage theft as stealing under the Code, and providing that it is deemed taken when it is not paid when it ought to be paid.
The types of employment entitlements covered by the proposed provision include usual wages, salaries and the like but also superannuation and tax contributions of employees commonly left unpaid or deferred by employers who have hit hard times.
It remains to be seen how this will apply to a director of a company employer, however it will add another dimension to personal liabilities for business operators whether in insolvency or otherwise.
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