Jonelle is a United Voice delegate working in Aged Care in Queensland, but her commitment to vulnerable workers doesn’t stop there.
When her union involvement came up recently at her daughter’s birthday party, she got a barrage of concerned questions including one from an 18-year-old casual employee lamenting her low pay.
“I asked her what she was paid and it was a measly $12.83 per hour as a casual on weekends,” said Jonelle. “To say I was gobsmacked was an understatement.
"So I explained that her hourly rate was effectively only about $8 with the extra being casual loading and penalty rates, and that she was being seriously underpaid.”
Jonelle then advised the young worker to “gently” inquire about things like an EBA and the minimum wage with her employer, and to tell them she’d been speaking with a union delegate.
It turned out her employer said they had no idea what an EBA was, they thought she was only 17, and she had no actual work contract. After talking with payroll, she has had her pay rate fixed and will be back paid $1000 owed to her.
Wage theft, whether it’s deliberate or not, is widespread in Australia – and young workers are particularly vulnerable. So it pays to speak up if you have even the slightest suspicion you’re being underpaid.
And don't wait around for a chance meeting with an excellent union delegate at a party - JOIN YOUR UNION NOW to learn your rights and work together to end wage theft.
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