Wage theft

Key dates

1 July 2023: Small claims cap lifted to $100,000 for employees bringing underpayment claims.

Continuous line drawing of a page in a calendar.

What's changed?

  • The compensation cap for small claims proceedings under the Fair Work Act is increasing from $20,000 to $100,000, providing access to dispute resolution to a greater number of workers.
  • Amendments to the Fair Work Act have clarified the courts' ability to award filing fees as costs to successful claimants.


Small claims court procedures provide avenues for employees to recover their unpaid work entitlements. Cost and complexity have often deterred employees from pursuing underpayment claims through small claims procedures.


Before 1 July 2023

  • Review employee remuneration to identify, address and prevent the underpayment of employees as a matter of priority. This includes all of remuneration including loadings, penalty rates, overtime, leave, allowances and superannuation guarantee.

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