A spate of recent high-profile wage underpayments cases have shown that no industry is immune. Wage theft is widespread from the restaurant and hospitality industry, retail, farming and franchises to Australian conglomerates with multi-million-dollar payroll errors and large super shortfalls.

The causes of Wage Theft or wage underpayment vary from not keeping up with complex awards changes, payroll system errors to the underpaying of minimum legal entitlements. Whether instances of underpayment are deliberate or merely a misinterpretation of Australia’s complex system of entitlement obligations, there is an increasing focus on ensuring compliance with employment standards and obligations. Not only is wage underpayment illegal, it is also a PR disaster. Thomson Reuters’ first Remuneration, Wage Theft and Annualised Salaries conference focuses on the reducing risk and legal non-compliance to stay on top of changing rules, regulations, penalties and practical tips to avoid for employers to prevent wage theft.

Do you pay annualised salaries? Employers will need to update employment contracts and HR practices by 1 March 2020 to comply with new modern award changes. The Fair Work Commission has finalised arrangements for new annualised salary clauses to be inserted into a number of modern awards with effect from 1 March 2020. These changes introduce important new practices for HR and payroll aimed at reducing "wage theft" and non-compliance with awards.

If you want to be across your employer obligations in relation to Remuneration, Wage Theft and Annualised Salaries you don't want to miss this conference!

Due to the ongoing and developing Covid-19 outbreak in Victoria, we have elected to postpone all events scheduled to be held in Melbourne in 2020 until further notice.

For any event enquiries, please email eventsanz@thomsonreuters.com.

Dates & Locations

24 November , Marriott
Livestream online
24 November 2020

Your investment

Full Price
$750 + GST

Register now



Welcome from the Chair

Alison Smith, Senior Associate, MinterEllison



Wage Theft - Causes and practical tips for employers

Wage theft, being a broad name used for the failure to pay employees their correct employment entitlements, is widespread and attracting much media attention. The causes vary from not keeping up with legal changes, inadvertent employer error and payroll system problems as well as deliberate and systematic schemes to underpay employees. The session will provide an overview of new wage theft laws and regulations including Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017 and Senate Committee review and recommendations.

Michael Moy, Partner, McCullough Robertson


Innovative and novel movements in wage theft matters – how class actions work

  • Wage theft class actions. What type of cases have been lodged, how might they operate, what are the implications?
  • Union representative actions. How are these similar or different to wage theft class actions?
  • Novel ancillary liability cases.

Giri Sivaraman, Principal, Maurice Blackburn


Networking and refreshment break


Accessorial liability for wage theft – how managers will be held accountable and personally liable

The Fair Work Act (per section 550 of the Fair Work Act) provides for accessorial liability provisions extends liability to those who were knowingly involved in a contravention. The accessorial liability provisions operate to potentially extend liability for wage underpayments to an individual if they had the requisite knowledge of the contravention as well as civil penalties for wage theft. The session addresses how to reduce the risk of accessorial liability for wage theft.

Megan Kavanagh, Partner, Colin Biggers & Paisley Lawyers


Underpayment of wages and superannuation - the ATO Perspective

  • The Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act, superannuation underpayment and the process for recovery of super owing
  • Wage underpayment and the process for backpay and tax treatment

John Ford, Assistant Commissioner, Australian Taxation Office (via Zoom)


Once you discover an underpayment issues what do you do next?

This session will cover practical tips for when you discover an underpayment issue including:

  • communication with employees, unions, the FWO and the public
  • tips for when the FWO calls and during an audit or investigation including FWO powers
  • what the FWO will expect and entering into arrangements with the FWO

Maree Skinner, Partner Employment Safety & People, Maddocks (via Zoom)


Lunch and networking break



Annualised Salaries, Set-Off Clauses, Guarantees of Annuals Earnings and IFAs

The FWC has finalised arrangements for new annualised salary clauses to be inserted into a number of modern awards with effect from 1 March 2020. This session will cover the award changes and also address some of the high-profile cases that have recently arisen in the hospitality and retail sectors - particularly ongoing monitoring of annualised salaries - which some of the award changes will direct people’s attention to.

Matthew Cameron, Senior Associate, Clayton Utz



How to de-risk your payroll function

A spate of high-profile cases of payroll error has put the spotlight on the need to review the payroll function to avoid expensive errors and remain compliant to wage obligations.

  • What are components of a well governed payroll function?
  • What are the most common causes of payroll compliance errors?
  • What should you do if you discover a compliance error or underpayment?

Tracy Angwin, CEO, Australian Payroll Association (via Zoom)


Networking and refreshment break



Preventing sham contracting practices in your organisation

Sham contracting results in the non-payment of superannuation and penalties, the misclassification of employees as independent contractors and issues with termination of employees and then re-hiring them as contractors to do the same job. The session to cover how to effectively prevent sham contracting practices within your organisation.

Heinz Lepahe, Partner, HWL Ebsworth



How to effectively implement changes to casual employment

New Casual Conversion legislation came into place from 1 October 2018. Casual workers who are employed for an extended period doing similar jobs to permanent employees can claim that they are permanent. The session to cover recent changes to casual status and the key issues in casual conversions to permanent including:

  • How to minimise the risk of such claims from casual workers
  • Recent case and impacts on terms, conditions and entitlements of PT and casual employees including redundancy calculations, rostering flexibility and unfair dismissal considerations

Jamie Robinson, Special Counsel, K&L Gates


Closing remarks from the chair and end of conference