Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Wage-theft should be a crime

Yesterday had another appalling story of wage-theft, with shitty employer Ravinder Arora exploiting his workers to steal tens of thousands of dollars a year. Writing in Stuff, Debrin Foxcroft argues that this should be a criminal offence:

The Crimes Act defines theft as "dishonestly and without claim of right, taking any property with intent to deprive any owner permanently of that property or of any interest in that property".

Somehow, this doesn't apply to employers under paying or taking advantage of workers.

At most, wage theft is often met with a slap on the wrist with the wet bus ticket.

To be perfectly honest, I am at a lost to understand why.

Theft is theft, is theft.

And they're right. Employers who underpay or hold back wages are stealing, and need to be treated like the criminals they are. Employees who steal can get seven years for "theft as a servant". Bosses who steal should be subject to the same penalty.