Victorian workers reclaim $1 million long service leave

Wage Inspectorate helps 15,000 Victorians in first year.

Victoria’s Wage Inspectorate has clawed back $1 million in unpaid long service leave for workers and helped more than 15,000 employees and businesses in its first 12 months, according to the Andrews government.

The regulator’s 2021-22 figures show 295 Victorians claimed they were underpaid long service leave and $309,367 was recouped with the Inspectorate’s help.

The Wage Inspectorate also took action in the courts with seven matters before court during the financial year, including a successful action against Coles Supermarkets that led to more than 4000 workers being paid back more than $700,000 in long service leave.

More than 7,700 permits were issued to employers of children under 15 and 329 child employment compliance checks and investigations were conducted.

The Wage Inspectorate also commenced intelligence-led, criminal wage theft investigations using the powers granted under Victoria’s new wage theft laws, including executing search warrants, issuing compulsory notices, entering premises, and seizing evidence.

“We’re aiming to have an even bigger impact over the next 12 months through our intelligence-led compliance activities, prosecutions and the release of new educational tools to make complying with the law even easier,” Commissioner of Wage Inspectorate Victoria, Robert Hortle, said.

Members of the retail, hospitality, manufacturing, and services industries were the most likely to call the Wage Inspectorate.

About 3000 calls came from employers seeking to understand their obligations, with employees, parents or people calling on behalf of a worker or business making up the balance of calls.

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