As part of our Inzenius Payroll team’s focus on innovation for the Payroll process, it undertook a test of the GPT open API tool to create an article on the subject of Payroll Underpayments in Australia.

If this is the general perspective of the subject of underpayment in the community, the option to do nothing is no longer available.

The request was, Write an Article on Payroll Underpayments in Australia.

The following is the article it generated.

Title: The Persistent Problem of Payroll Underpayments in Australia: Seeking Fairness for Workers


Payroll underpayments have long been a pressing issue in Australia, casting a shadow on the nation’s commitment to fair work practices. Despite the country’s robust employment laws, numerous instances of underpayment have emerged across various industries, leading to financial hardships and workplace inequalities for many hardworking individuals. This article sheds light on the concerning prevalence of payroll underpayments in Australia and explores the measures being taken to rectify the situation.

The Scope of the Problem

The magnitude of payroll underpayments in Australia is staggering. According to a study conducted by the University of New South Wales, it is estimated that around one in three Australian workers experience some form of wage theft during their employment, with underpayments totaling billions of dollars annually. This alarming trend affects individuals from all walks of life, including vulnerable workers, casual employees, and international students.

Root Causes of Underpayments

Several factors contribute to the persistence of payroll underpayments in Australia. Some employers exploit complex industrial agreements and interpret award rates and entitlements ambiguously, leading to inadvertent underpayments. Others deliberately engage in wage theft to reduce costs and increase profitability. Moreover, the complexity of Australia’s industrial relations system and outdated payroll practices further exacerbate the issue.

Industries Most Affected

While underpayments can occur across various sectors, certain industries have been particularly susceptible to this problem. The hospitality industry, including restaurants, cafes, and bars, has emerged as a hotbed for underpayment scandals. Retail, agriculture, and healthcare are other sectors that have witnessed numerous cases of underpayments, highlighting the widespread nature of the issue.

Legal Repercussions and Reforms

The Australian government has taken significant steps to address the issue of payroll underpayments. In 2019, the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act was passed, substantially increasing the penalties for employers found guilty of wage theft. The legislation also granted additional powers to the Fair Work Ombudsman to investigate and prosecute cases of underpayment. These measures aim to deter employers from engaging in unfair practices and provide better protection for workers.

Furthermore, the implementation of Single Touch Payroll (STP) by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has improved transparency in payroll reporting. STP requires employers to report employee salary and superannuation information to the ATO with each pay cycle, facilitating more efficient detection of underpayments and enabling early intervention.

Employee Empowerment and Awareness

In addition to legal reforms, empowering workers with knowledge about their rights and entitlements is crucial. Awareness campaigns led by government bodies, trade unions, and community organizations have played a significant role in educating employees about their rights, increasing awareness about underpayments, and encouraging reporting of wage theft incidents. Employees are now better equipped to identify potential underpayments and seek redress through formal channels.

The Role of Technology

Technology has also emerged as a key tool in combating payroll underpayments. Innovative payroll software and platforms equipped with sophisticated algorithms can automatically calculate award rates, tax deductions, and other entitlements, reducing the likelihood of errors or deliberate underpayments. These systems can also flag discrepancies, enabling employers to rectify any underpayments promptly.


Payroll underpayments continue to tarnish Australia’s reputation as a fair and just society. While progress has been made in addressing this issue through legal reforms, the true eradication of wage theft requires ongoing efforts from employers, employees, government bodies, and industry stakeholders. Improved education, better enforcement mechanisms, and the adoption of technology-driven solutions can pave the way towards a future where every worker in Australia receives fair and just compensation for their labor. Only then can we ensure a truly equitable and thriving work environment for all.

We Believe

The Chat GPT response, using available information to it on the Web was in my opinion a fair overview of the current situation in Australia.

Payroll Technol;igy is the way forward as is available with the Inzenius system.