The living wage crisis in Australian industrial relations

Louise Thornthwaite*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The recent proliferation in Australia of systematic wage underpayment, or wage theft as it is known in the US, is stripping workers of the 'living wage', once a cornerstone of Australia's industrial relations system. This paper considers the dimensions of this phenomenon and some of the policy recommendations for regulatory reform to reduce employer non-compliance with minimum wage standards. The paper concludes with proposals for other measures that may also help arrest what is becoming a living wage crisis and restore fair and reasonable wages to workers, regardless of employment arrangement or status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-269
Number of pages9
JournalLabour and Industry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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