The Federal Parliament has amended the Crimes Act increasing the value of the penalty unit from $110 to $170 for federal offences committed after 28 December 2012. For employers, the increase means significantly harsher financial penalties for contraventions of the civil remedy provisions contained in the Fair Work Act.
The amended legislation also contains a review period, which means that the penalty unit may see further increases every three years.
As a result of the increase, the maximum penalty payable by employers has risen from $33,000 to $51,000. Individuals (including directors, management and human resources personnel) now face a maximum penalty of $10,200, up from $6,600.
Pursuant to the Fair Work Act, a Court may order that a person pay a pecuniary penalty for a contravention of a civil remedy provision, which includes a breach in respect of:
The increase serves as a timely reminder to employers (and senior staff involved in the decision making process) to ensure they are prudent in managing their employees’ rights and entitlements.
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