22 Feb Unpaid Entitlements: What Can I Do?
There are a range of options you can pursue if you have not received your entitlements from your employer. An effective option for employees who have been underpaid based on their statutory entitlements for less than $20,000, is making an application in the Federal Circuit Court, using the small claims process. In this type of scenario you must seek leave to have legal representation. Moreover, if you are successful it is unlikely you will be awarded a portion of the cost of your legal fees. It should be noted that claims under the Fair Work Act for unpaid entitlements must be commenced in the Federal Circuit Court within 6 years of the breach.
The Federal Circuit Court also hears matters relating to statutory entitlements concerning, unpaid annual leave, redundancy payouts, notice payouts and any benefits that fall under an industrial award or enterprise agreement. These entitlements are considered minimum entitlements under the Fair Work Act. Most working Australians will fall under an award of some sort and this is detailed in your employment contract more often than not.
Another option available is filing proceedings in the Chief Industrial Magistrates Court of NSW. This can be actioned in any Local Court of NSW and costs orders are awarded. Furthermore, there is no need to seek leave for legal representation. If your claim for unpaid wages or entitlements is between $20,000 and $100,000, you can make a claim in the Local Court of NSW.
For a claim for unpaid long service leave you will need to proceed in either the Federal Circuit Court or the Chief Industrial Magistrates Court of NSW. Both options have their advantages, however the Federal Circuit Court generally has greater delays and therefore continuing down the path of an application in the Chief Industrial Magistrates Court of NSW is likely to bring a more expedient result.
For employees that wish to make a claim for commission or bonuses that they believe are owed to them, you will need to file proceedings in the Chief Industrial Magistrates Court of NSW, Local Court of NSW or District Court of NSW. This may be a worthwhile avenue if the commission or bonus structure provided for substantial payouts.
Should you require assistance with your litigation matter, please give us a call for a free assessment. Our contact details are:
Berrigan Doube Lawyers
Melbourne: (03) 9600 2577
Sydney: (02) 9251 6699
Brisbane: (07) 3229 0707