Almost eight in ten young workers in Canberra have experienced wage theft, over half made to work illegal unpaid trial shift

UnionsACT research into the experiences of workers aged between 15 to 25 shows that 76 percent of young workers have experienced wage theft, and 56 percent had been forced to work an illegal unpaid trial shift.

The research, released today, found that:

  • Almost eight in ten young workers had experienced wage-theft;
  • Fifty six percent had been required to work an unlawful unpaid trial shift;
  • Half of young people aged 15 to 25 had been placed in working conditions that were unsafe.
  • Seventy percent of young workers had experienced bullying or harassment while at work.
  • Awareness of workplace rights and safety rights, was low.
  • Experiences were generally worse for young women at work, and young LGBTI workers.

Failures by regulators at a Federal and ACT level had contributed to a culture where adult employers could exploit and steal from young workers without consequence. Working in unsafe workplaces was also common for young workers aged under 18 (children), despite additional ACT laws designed to protect child employees.

The following quotes are attributable to Alex White, secretary of UnionsACT:

“From their very first job, thousands of young workers are being exploited by adult employers.

“Our research shows that many young peoples’ first experience as a worker is of having their wages stolen by the employer, being exploited, or being placed in unsafe working conditions.

“Young workers are entering the workplace without knowledge of their rights at work or their right to safe work.

“It is unacceptable that many employers think it is OK to steal wages from young or treat young workers as easy targets for exploitation.”

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