Young people are especially vulnerable to wage theft, due in part to issues such as a culture of wage theft in industries where young people make up the majority of employees; a lack of awareness among young employees of their workplace rights; reluctance to complain about exploitation because of fear of retribution, combined with lack of resourcing for proactive detection of non-compliance by the regulator and unions. The burden currently falls on young people to report exploitation and underpayment to the regulators, union, or community legal centres. However, the resourcing available to detect wage theft does not reflect the systemic nature of the issue.
To address the disadvantage wage theft causes, the Melbourne School of Government has proposed a multi-pronged approach that aims to first and foremost, support young people at risk of wage theft, while also providing data for regulators, policymakers and business to drive system change. The Fair Day’s Work project will draw upon cross-disciplinary expertise in labour law and regulation, digital design, information science, UX design, data analysis and data ethics to design/develop three interlinked components: The Fair Day’s Work portal; a Wage Theft Database and finally a Wage Theft Prediction Tool.
- The Fair Day’s Work portal will provide tailored information to young workers as they start their journey into the workforce while also providing the public with information on employment issues in their area.
- The wage theft database will bring together a wide range of data sources to support a deeper understanding of wage theft in Australia, especially relating to young people.
- The wage theft prediction tool will enable an assessment of which employees are at risk of exploitation and underpayment as well as predict the risk of reoffending by businesses which have been previously found to have underpaid workers.
We will be working closing with a range of stakeholders and young people to design, develop and implement these tools.
Media and Research outputs
- Professor John Howe
Director, Melbourne School of Government
Lecturer, Melbourne School of Government
Research Data Scientist, Melbourne School of Government
Professional Fellow, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research
Lecturer, School of Computing and Information Systems
Research Fellow, School of Computing and Information Systems
Senior Research Fellow, School of Computing and Information Systems
- Sophie Freeman
Research Assistant, Melbourne School of Government